Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

In a struggling economy, most of us are looking for ways to save on our grocery bill.  Many people say that they cannot eat healthy because it is too expensive.  Yet often it is careless shopping that eats up our budget.  Let’s look at the basics and see if we can make a dent in the final grocery tab, yet eat healthier:

  1. TAKE CHARGE. Someone has to take charge of healthy meal planning.  It will not happen by itself, and will take some work.
  2. EDUCATE YOURSELF. In order to plan healthy meals, you must know what healthy eating looks like.  The website tells us to split our plates visually into quarters and into each quarter put a serving of the following food groups: Fruit, Vegetable, Protein and Starch.  With a cup of milk on the side.  That is the basics of a healthy meal. The website gives much more information about healthy eating.
  3. KNOW PORTION SIZES. You must know what a healthy portion is.  For example, what size of meat portion do we need?  A normal and adequate portion of meat is the size of the palm of your hand, which is about 3 ounces.  Save money by planning for no more than 3 ounces of protein as a portion per person.
  4. FIX LESS. When we talk portions, we need to look at the fact that about 3 out of 4 Americans are overweight or obese, because we eat too much. Our portions are too large.  Almost all of us need to cut back on portion sizes.   Save money by fixing less.
  5. DON’T BUY THE EXTRAS.  Save money and your family’s health by cutting out pop, chips, cookies, convenience foods and extra portions of meat or other foods.
  6. BUY IN-SEASON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.  Look for fruits and vegetables in season or on sale, looking to get the best deals offered of foods the family will eat
  7. COOK AT HOME.  Each time you choose to cook at home rather than eat out, you will save money.  When you cook, make a double batch and freeze half to make it easier the next time.  Which foods are the most expensive per serving? Meat, single-serving  foods like yogurt and ready-to-heat food items. Even with coupons these items often are more expensive than larger containers or homemade versions.
  8. SUBSTITUTE LOWER- COST PROTEIN.  Past generations have been raised on many recipes which contained dried cooked beans as the main ingredient: bean soup, beans and cornbread, ham & beans.  There are many recipes available which use low-cost beans as the protein source.  Save money by finding and trying out recipes with beans as the main ingredient.
  9. SIMPLIFY. Eggs are inexpensive sources of protein. Carrots are low-cost vegetables. Bananas are low-cost, year-round  fruits. Potatoes are a good source of many vitamins, minerals and fiber and you can serve baked potatoes with toppings one night for a healthy, low-cost meal.  Save money by using these low-cost foods often in your meal planning.
  10. GET CONNECTED. Look online for frugal websites.  You will learn many tips from what others have been doing to eat healthy on a budget.  Get going and good shopping!