Healthy Eating – On a Budget
by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE
Healthy eating can feel expensive… but it doesn’t have to be. It may require a little more planning and effort – but you’ll be eating better, feeling better.. and saving money! Eating at home (bringing snacks and meals to work) will almost always be less expensive than eating out.
◊ Shop in your refrigerator first. Avoid food waste and plan to use what you have
◊ Read the store circular to check sale items
◊ Build menus around the fish, meat, fruit and veggies that are on sale.
◊ Make a list – base it on your menus
◊ Bring coupons; get a raincheck if what you want is sold-out
◊ Plan a few meatless meals each week.
|In the Store|
◊ Stick to your list. Avoid impulse purchases.
◊ Check the expiration dates. Grab milk or other items that expire from the back of the shelf
◊ Compare prices; the house brand may not always be less than a brand that is on sale.
◊ As much as possible, stick to the perimeter of the store. That’s where you’ll find your fresh fruits, veggies, meats, fish and dairy
To save a little money…..
|Choose this||Instead of this|
|Bulk raw oats||Instant oatmeal packets|
|Canned Tuna (or other fish)||Fresh Tuna (or other fish)|
|Whole carrots||Packets of snack carrots|
|Popcorn kernels (pop it yourself)||Popped or microwave popcorn|
|Tilapia (fresh fish)||Haddock (fresh fish)|
|Dried beans and peas or eggs||Meat|
|Frozen or canned vegetables||Fresh vegetables (unless on sale!)|
|Roasted turkey or chicken, sliced||Deli meats|
|Water||Non-calorie drink mixes and sodas|
◊ If you like carbonated beverages, consider investing in a sparkling beverage maker such as SodaStream. Add natural flavors such as lemon or lime or a splash of fruit juice.
◊ While buying snack packs (crackers, pretzels, carrots) can be convenient, you can save a lot of money by making your own.
◊ Keep small snack bags handy to make-your-own snack packs.
◊ Often specials involve buying a large quantity of something. If you end up with several pounds of chicken or salmon, make sure you have freezer bags or wrap to quickly portion it into what you can use for several meals.
◊ Using meatless protein sources including dried beans and peas, tofu, peanut butter and eggs will save you money.
◊ Make a habit of checking the “day old” shelves in the bread and produce sections. Depending on what you’re making, the choices available might be just what you need!