Smart Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Want to save time, money, and brain power on deciding what to buy at the grocery store? Whether you’re watching your weight or wallet—or working to improve your health and performance—these grocery shopping tips can help.

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it!
  • Focus on whole foods—limit packaged items with many or hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
  • Avoid artificial ingredients, flavors, and colors.
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
  • Visit for recipes and money-saving tips.

Soldier putting together a salad A Service Member offers strategies for healthy eating choices... Read More

Learn more at our “Get into Fighting Weight” guide.


See caption for alt text

Published on: January 31, 2020

Sample Grocery Shopping on a Budget

<Map of a grocery store with arrows pointing toward the Produce, Meat & Seafood, Dairy, Frozen Foods, and Middle Aisle sections.>


  • Choose in-season produce—it’s at peak flavor and often cheaper.
  • Look for pre-cut fruits and veggies to save prep time (but check prices—they could cost more).
  • Aim for a variety of produce—the more color, the better.

Meat & Seafood

  • Choose smaller portions of high-quality items.
  • Buy extra when there’s a sale and freeze it.
  • Try rotisserie chicken for a fast weekday dinner with endless variations.


  • Choose bulk yogurt and cottage cheese, portion into single servings.
  • Look for plain yogurt or compare labels to find lower sugar options.

Frozen Foods

  • Get frozen fruits and veggies—they’re easy to use, cheaper, and stay fresh longer.
  • Look for protein options (burgers, precooked fish/meat/poultry, and edamame).

Middle Aisles

  • Watch out for “empty calorie” items.
  • Get tuna, beans, lentils, nuts, and nut butters—they’re cheap, shelf-stable protein options.
  • Choose “100% whole grain” as the first ingredient in cereal, bread, and crackers.
  • Pick plain grains—they’re often cheaper and you can add your own spices. 

CHAMP wants to know:
How useful was the information in this article?