A family's grocery budget represents a meaningful part of the monthly budget. Efforts to save money should include a thoughtful review of spending on groceries, but there are some traps. Some of the healthiest foods are more expensive than some of the least healthy; in the long run, poor health will cost your family more than a healthy diet.

Consider the following:

Obesity: WebMD describes obesity as an "astronomical" epidemic. The resulting costs far outweigh any savings on groceries. Nearly one third of American adults are obese and about half of that proportion of children and teens are overweight.

Diabetes is epidemic in America with nearly 26 million people (7 million of whom are undiagnosed) and is increasing around the world. More than 90 percent of cases are Type 2, which is "can be prevented through healthy food choices, physical activity, and weight loss," according to the Centers for Disease Control. Diabetes care can be extremely expensive. More importantly, the impact of the disease on individuals and their families can be devastating; complications from diabetes include blindness and amputations.

Here are some tips to help you feed your family a healthy diet. They will save you money in the long run:

Skim Milk

Skim milk has no empty calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Serve that as an alternative to whole milk or 2 percent.

Extra Lean Ground Beef

Extra lean ground beef also has no empty calories; regular ground beef gets about one quarter of its calories from fat.

Skinless Chicken Breast

A skinless chicken breast has no empty calories. Battered and fried chicken wings get almost 80 percent of their calories from fat.

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread, which should be a staple in virtually every home, has no empty calories. By contrast, a croissant has almost 50 percent empty calories.

Junk Drinks

Soda pop, beer, wine and distilled spirits all provide no nutritional value for their calories. Money spent here is simply wasted.


Butter, margarine, cream cheese and whipped toppings are almost completely empty calories.


Water from the tap in America is generally safe to drink, virtually free and is the healthiest option for most people.

Eating at Home

At home, you have the opportunity to influence your family's eating habits more than when you eat out. If you provide food they love to eat at home, you can save money by eating out less. If it's healthy food at home, you'll save more money in the long run.

By spending your grocery dollars wisely to buy healthier foods for your family, you can protect them from obesity and type 2 diabetes. You can also save money and help to keep your family healthy by providing healthy meals at home instead of eating out.

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