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Tips for Healthy Eating While Spending Less
As food prices continue to rise, it can be challenging to buy, prepare and eat healthy meals, especially on a fixed income. Here are some tips to help reduce your food cost without sacrificing nutrition.
Planning is Key!
Good planning may take time, however there are several benefits, including:
- Save Money: keeps you from making impulse buys and focuses on foods you need.
- Save Time: helps prevent multiple trips to the store. You can plan ahead to make enough for leftovers, saving you from having to cook every day.
- Create a Balanced Meal Plan: helps to include foods from all the food groups, which are the building blocks for a healthy eating pattern.
Before You Shop
- Check the foods you already have at home and what is on sale at your local market.
- Prioritize your food dollars for nutrient-rich produce, low-fat dairy, lean protein and whole grains. Plan meals around these foods for optimal nutrition.
- Minimize processed convenience foods. They often cost more, are higher in sodium and less nutritious.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Clip or use on-line coupons. They can save 10-15%, as long as it is something you use.
- Eat before you shop, so you’re not hungry. When you’re hungry, everything looks good and you’ll end up buying things that you do not need!
At the Market
- Start in the produce section with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. They usually cost less, are at peak flavor and provide vital nutrients. Pick some that need to ripen so you can have them later in the week. If produce is not in season, frozen is a better value.
- When it comes to protein, eggs, chicken and turkey are usually more economical choices. Consider legumes as a protein alternative; they are less costly and packed with nutrition.
- Store brands are often 15-20% less expensive and in many cases nutritionally comparable to the national brand. Compare the Food Facts label.
- Check the ‘sell by’ and ‘best used by’ dates to help select the freshest foods.
- Buy larger quantities if you have adequate storage space, can transport them, and will use before the food spoils.
- Use your loyalty reward card.
- Refrigerate perishable groceries immediately.
- Reduce waste - use highly perishable foods such as fresh seafood, ground meat, salad greens and berries first. Have foods with a longer shelf-life later in the week including eggs, yogurt and whole chicken.
- Enjoy leftovers for another meal. Use within 2-3 days.
- As fruit ripens, refrigerate to extend the shelf-life.
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