Is it possible to eat healthy and save money at the same time?

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- We are nearing the end of January and right now you are either winning or losing at this point when it comes to that New Year's resolution you made.
Many people resolve to start off the year eating healthier, but for many that means what they think will be a hefty grocery bill. WKYT's Amber Philpott hits the grocery aisle o help you save money and avoid those traps that might cost you more.

It is dinner time and busy wife and mother Lori Nichols is trying to get a healthy meal on the table for her family. Her son Jackson, right there in the kitchen with her.

"It can be a mix and match a lot of the time depending on our schedule," said Lori Nichols.

Nichols and her family have committed to eating better in the New Year, she admits they struggle like any family with staying on track and on budget. Many times people equate healthy with expensive.

"At first I did until I would read tips on Facebook. I would see recipes scrolling through my feed and found it really doesn't have to be expensive," said Nichols.

Planning ahead and ordering groceries online Nichols says has helped her keep her grocery list from skyrocketing.

"I see the total before I'm actually spending the money so that has really helped us defray the cost of eating healthier," said Nichols.

Experts say the average American family wastes nearly $1500 worth of food every year. A Harvard School of Public Health study in 2013 found the healthiest diets cost a $1.50 more than unhealthy diets.

"Healthy foods can be expensive if you don't know what to look for because many of them may be marketed in a certain way or packaged in a certain way," said Heather Norman-Burgdolf.

Heather Norman-Burgdolf is an Extension Specialist with the University of Kentucky, it's her job to help others learn to navigate the grocery and not only eat better, but save more.

"Healthy food doesn't have to be fancy right, it's pretty simple."

Norman-Burgdolf says there is a learning curve, but it's not a hard one when it comes to spending and eating right. She says the hard part starts at home.

"So before you ever get to the grocery store I think its family buy in, investing the time it takes to learn how to eat healthy up front," said Norman-Burgdolf.

So where do we start?

Her shopping list of tips begins in produce.

"Seasonal is going to be where you can save money, so think about how cheap zucchini is in the summer. I think there is some misconceptions that canned or frozen aren't good options you should always go for fresh, but they are incredibly cost efficient."

Buy your meat she says in bulk and skip pre-packaged items.

"My little rule that I go by is that the more packaging there is the more expensive it's going to be."

And last, convenience can be a costly trap.

"For example you have ten packets and we are looking at $2.39, but if you purchase the almost instant variety here quick one minute oats cause that is one of the complaints about eating oatmeal that it takes forever. This is under $5 and you have in here 30 servings."

It may seem daunting at first, but Norman-Burgdolf says even the smallest of changes will make a big difference.

For Lori Nichols it's a commitment her entire family has bought into and sticking with in the New Year.

"It's fighting the last minute, changing your mind about what you are going to make and oh I'm tired from day and if I can combat that piece of it, it makes a total difference in our eating and our healthy habits," said Nichols.

Another quick way to save on healthy items, Norman-Burgdolf says think about convenience items like pre-cut veggies and fruits. She says often times those pre-packaged items will cost you more than just getting the whole items, think not buying precut pineapple versus the whole pineapple.

Amber's personal tips:
I buy big bags of spinach and freeze for smoothies
When avocados are on sale I buy several, cut up and freeze
I often buy frozen fruit when not in season
I start on Monday and portion out cups of grapes, snack size bags of almonds and fry 5 eggs for my breakfast, all small time savers that really add up!

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