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Tips to Help You Eat Healthy on a Budget
By Judi Arthur, RD
When you need to stick to a food budget, here are 12 strategies to help you eat well and spend less.
- Develop a weekly menu and shopping list and stick to it. Your menu should utilize some of the same ingredients in different ways. For example, make extra roast chicken which can be used in pastas dishes or main dish salads at other meals
- Purchase staple foods such as pasta, beans, or rice in bulk
- Cook in large batches, divide food portions so there are 1-2 meals in each container, and freeze the extras.
- Go meatless once a week. Beans are less expensive than meat, fish, or poultry, but loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. There are plenty of delicious meatless recipes online at http://www.forksoverknives.com/ or http://www.meatlessmonday.com/.
- Eat at home most of the time. Restaurant meals use up much needed dollars out of your food budget, and you have less control over how your food is prepared. Try cooking simple nutritious meals at home.
- Shop mainly around the parameter of the grocery store. This is where you will find the whole food staples of healthy eating: fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy, and grain products. Generally, foods that are less prepared are cheaper.
- Shop at farmer’s markets seasonally or local produce stores
- Buy store brands instead of name brands and save
- Grow your own veggies. If you don’t have space to plant a garden, create a pot garden from vegetable seeds.
- Boost your nutrition by adding dried fruit to meals. For example, dried cranberries or raisins can brighten up a salad, hot cereal, or a nut butter sandwich.
- Have breakfast for dinner. Since eggs are less expensive than many other proteins, try having a frittata or an omelette for dinner.
- Make selections from the top shelf or bottom shelf because eye level products occupy prime real estate in the grocery store and tend to be the most expensive.