Our Experts, Your Health

Eating healthy on a budget

Eating healthy on a budget can be a challenge. However, with some planning you will be able to cook healthy meals while saving a few dollars.

Before you head to the store:

  • Create a meal plan for all the meals you will eat that week.
  • Take an inventory of food items you currently have in the kitchen so you can avoid purchasing items you may already have.
  • Create a grocery shopping list of the items that you need.

Once you have a grocery list set, you can search your local flyers for sales and coupons. Be resourceful by using the internet and looking for sales and coupons online. If you’re a Smartphone user, there are apps you can download to help you save money. Get to know your local stores and join their loyalty rewards programs. Some stores may even match prices of their local competitors if you bring in the sale ad. However, to get the best prices you may need to purchase items at several stores.

Once you have a plan, grocery shopping list, and coupons, you will be ready to head to the store. Don’t go on an empty stomach! Making sure you eat before you go grocery shopping will help you avoid making impulse purchases.

While at the store, make sure to stick to your grocery list and follow these tips:

  • Compare name brands with store brands for better prices. Store brands are typically less expensive.
  • Look at and compare the unit prices. Buying in bulk can be less expensive in the long run, but take into consideration your storage space as well as the shelf life. Will you use the item before it goes bad?
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. For in season fruits and vegetables check out this web site from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy but follow these tips when purchasing them:

  • Read the nutrition fact labels and compare products.
  • Buy canned fruits in their own juice and avoid the heavy syrup.
  • Buy low sodium or no salt added canned vegetables.
  • Avoid frozen fruit with added sugar.
  • Avoid frozen vegetables with sauces.

There are more great resources for eating on a budget at www.choosemyplate.gov.

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