Agreed - it is such a shame that fresh, healthy foods cost more in this country than unhealthy ones.
A few great tips:
1. Buy in season. Peppers and berries are expensive during the winter months because it takes a lot of to grow and ship them! Instead, look for local produce that's in season and will likely be cheaper. That means zucchini, berries, peppers, and eggplant during the summer; butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pears and apples during the winter!
2. Go frozen. There are many frozen vegetable and fruit options that make preparation easy. They store for a very long time, and tend to be inexpensive!
3. Shop the sales & seconds. Use the sales pages to dictate what you prepare that week. Even if you're unfamiliar with a vegetable, you can always check online for recipes! Seconds are another great option - fruits/ vegetables that are safe to eat, but have visual blemishes or are close to expiring. You can get them at a much lower cost, and they still taste great!
4. Be careful about where you're shopping. Check out a few different grocery stores and options in your neighborhood to make sure you're getting the best deal.
5. Go plant-based. One major cost can be meat and milk products. Rice and beans, on the other hand, are delicious, cheap, and versatile.
6. Make one-pot meals. Soups and stews are fabulous and filling. The best part is that leftovers taste great, and you can even freeze them for later in the week or month!
Also, note that many farmer's markets are starting to accept food stamps, so that is an option to get cheap, local produce!