Today's tips come from Bonnie Grenier, one of our RN Diabetes Educators. She has put together some helpful suggestions for eating healthy on a budget. Don't let financial limitations prevent you from taking good care of yourself!
Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
1. Always make a list before you go shopping - and stick to it!
2. Plan out meals a week ahead of time. consider picking one day of the week to map out what you want to eat each day that week, and consider doubling the recipe so you have leftovers for other meals or lunches. Write it all out on a calendar.
3. Don't go to the grocery store hungry - the store is designed to tempt you with sale items, end-displays, and candy at the register. Try to shop with a belly full of healthy food (and a plan - see #1 and #2!).
4. Avoid convenience items, like pre-packaged salad. These items cost much more (check the "unit price"), and have more recalls for foodborne illnesses like E. Coli and Listeria. It doesn't take as much time to make your own salad as you think!
5. Avoid designer "health food" products. Many of the simplest, most familiar foods are actually the healthiest. For example, dried or canned beans, brown rice, canned tuna, natural peanut butter, and fresh or frozen broccoli are all inexpensive staple foods you could use to build a healthy diet for the whole week for very little money.
6. You don't always have to buy organic. Most pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables can be washed off and will likely not pose a health risk. Buying organic is more important for some fruits and veggies than for others - check out this website to help you decide.
7. Compare "unit prices" between brands and between package sizes - some will cost more than others! Store brand often has the same ingredient list, for much less money.
8. Consider shopping at wholesale supermarkets like Walmart, BJ's, or Costco - they often have fruits and vegetables at lower prices, or may allow you to stock up on big packages of healthy basics at a lower price than buying smaller containers one-by-one.
9. Buy frozen veggies. Frozen fruits and vegetables are easy, pre-cut, are just as nutritious as fresh, and won't spoil in your fridge when your week gets busy.
10. Grow your own herb garden - herbs and flavorings can be expensive in the supermarket, when all it takes is a small window garden to grow your own! This will help you to make flavorful food, without adding as much sodium.
Eating healthy can seem expensive, but it doesn't have to be! And your health is worth it.
What other tips do you have for sticking to your healthy eating plan AND your budget? Share in the comments section below!