As requested on the above link, let's start posting our healthy tips for eating better without going broke. I believe everyone can get more for their money, eat well and save the world with some planning and effort:
I once heard a report on NPR that stated the bigger the grocery store the more people spend. People who shop in places like Walmart tend to buy on average 5 impulse items that they had no thought of when entering the store. Many people just cannot resist 1000 gum balls in a Sponge Bob Square Pants container for $5. When people shopped in smaller stores they tended to be more thoughtful and less spontaneous about their purchases. When the stores had quality items, people still spent less than the big box shoppers.
First: know what you are paying for an item based on it's unit, not it's listed price. Many bulk or "economy" sizes are not cheaper. All American supermarkets are required to post unit prices so you know if your toilet paper is costing you 5 cents per 100 count or 13 cents per 100 count. The day I realized that chicken McNuggets cost more than organic chicken was the day I started to only buy organic. Think of what a Big Mac costs and think of what you are paying at a per pound price for that half dead lettuce, a hard tomato and a soggy roll. Now think of how commercial animals are raised in agri-biz factory farms and you have a really good reason to eat organic, preferably local meat. Better to eat good meat in moderation than poor meat in quantity.
Plan a weekly menu. Make a list. Keep a pantry. Think seasonal.
I'm a big believer in learning how to extend the life of food - canning, freezing, drying. We bartered for six bushels of organic apples in the fall - result: apple sauce, dried apples, apple butter, and a small batch of hard cider. I do have a root cellar, but I find it to be more trouble than it's worth. Got a deal on avocados? - make guacamole and freeze it in meal sized portions.
Those plums and grapes you see in December are from Chili, a country that uses plenty of DDT in their agriculture. Fruit coming in from foreign countries (including Mexico) is heavily sprayed to keep out alien insects when it crosses a border. Sometimes US trucks are sprayed when just going from Florida to Geogia, so try and buy local organics. When fruit is in season it's cheaper and more likely to be local. Freeze fruit when it's in season. Blueberries frozen in July taste great in pancakes made in December.
As goes fruit, so goes vegetables. Ten years ago someone gave me a garlic braid. I pulled the cloves off, planted them and haven't bought garlic since. I just harvest and replant some each fall. You can grow garlic in pots. Learn to cook veggies like cabbage, kale, cauliflower, carrots and turnips- they are good for you and often cheap at farmer's markets in spring and autumn. You can grow a very decent salad/mesclun mix in a window box. Organic asparagus on sale?- buy a bunch - eat some, freeze some, make some soup and freeze some of that. Most veggies freeze fine, better than canning. I make little freezer bags of chopped veggies so they are ready to go into soups or stir frys.
Think ethnic: Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Indian - cultures that do so much with so little. The American idea of eating a big slab of meat with a starch is just not healthy. Beans, legumes, rice, kasha, millet, etc keep most of the world alive and healthy.
Drinks - I don't drink much milk, but when I buy it I buy a gallon of organic. I pour it into pint canning jars and freeze it. As I use up a jar, I pull a new one out of the freeze and put it in the fridge to defrost. I can't remember the last time I threw out spoiled milk. In the summer I also freeze milk in ice cube trays and use it in iced coffee.
Learn to bake. Make extra dough and freeze it. It's cheaper to make biscuits than buy the stuff in a tube that is mostly partially hydrogenated oil and bleached white flour. If you buy bread, buy the best and cut it into meal sized chunks, freeze the rest. If you have stale bread just properly freeze it. When you are ready to eat it, wrap it in foil and warm it up for 15 minutes in 350 degree oven, if it's good bread it will taste like fresh.
If you are in the country learn about wildfoods. There is nothing better than chantrelles, horn of plenty mushrooms and walnuts lightly sauteed in walnut oil and baked on top of a homemade pizza. Almost everyone has dandelions - pick them first thing is spring and make a pesto. Somewhere is a thread on wild foods,
Drinks: forget the soda. If you have to have bubble water buy no-cal flavored seltzer. Switch to fruity iced teas instead of juice. Juice is liquid calories, better to eat the whole fruit and get some fiber. Most children already get too many calories and juice is not good for their teeth or their waist lines. If you drink coffee, buy the best organic, shade grown you can afford and savor it. Drink one cup less per day to offset the cost.
Good cheese is worth the price. Eat less of it and really taste it. No more mindless popping of chunks in your mouth, someone goes through a lot of trouble to make good cheese - think about that when you eat it. In a world where people pay the equivalent of $78.00 for a gallon of coffee, you should be willing to buy a cheese that costs the same as a couple of Starbuck's mocha lattes.
OK I'm sure I'll think of more stuff and I'm sure there are other's with stuff to contribute...