When trying to eating healthy, dollar signs may come to mind. Fresh fruit and vegetables, often imported from far away places, can go bad very quickly, turning into a waste of your money. Just because you want to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to rush to eat your newly purchased bag of mixed greens or take out a loan to pay for all your new healthy food.

In fact, a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that eating healthy in the long run will save money! Analyzing food cost three different ways, researched showed that eating healthy will help the wallet.

Researchers looked at three different ways to analyze food cost—price per calorie (used in previous studies), price per edible gram, and price per average portion. They found that the first way (price per calorie) showed that healthy food was more expensive, but the cost was similar when analyzed using the other two options.

Think of it this way: A chocolate donut has 240 calories and a banana has 104, so even though they are both 99 cents the banana costs more because you don’t get as many calories. But one banana is more likely to fill you up, and keep you filling full longer, then one chocolate donut. That makes it cheaper per edible gram and per average portion.

So eating healthy in the long run will save you money and calories. Good ways to fill up without splurging on expensive fresh fruit and vegetables include:

  1. Buy frozen vegetables
  2. Choose in-season fruit
  3. Pick for canned meat and fish
  4. Join Costco and buy your staples in bulk
  5. Eat oatmeal for breakfast
  6. Brew your own coffee and tea