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4 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

October 31, 2023

Eating healthy might be your goal, but with the rising cost of everything from eggs to vegetables, it can seem impossible to do without busting your weekly food budget. “Part of the struggle to follow a healthy lifestyle is that the foods that are easier to grab on the run or often less expensive are not the best for us,” says Elizabeth Glass, inpatient registered dietitian at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. But with a little homework before you go to the market, and making different choices when needed, Glass says you can keep your diet and your budget on track. Here are four tips for eating healthy on a budget. [insert-cta-small id=52391]

1. Stick to a list.

A little planning can go a long way. Glass suggests starting your week by deciding what meals you want to cook and building an ingredient list. Sticking to a list instead of wandering the store aisles helps keep the cart free of extra items which increase the bill. It also helps you stay on track with healthy eating.

2. Think canned and frozen foods.

Fresh is always best, but canned or frozen vegetables, fruit and protein offer savings and convenience, all in one. Plus, frozen foods have no additional preservatives and a longer shelf life. Be sure to opt for lower sodium options or rinse the food first to reduce the sodium content. Canned chickpeas, for example are an affordable protein for salads.  Keep calories and sodium lower by choosing items without added sauce or flavoring. To repurpose leftovers, Glass makes fried rice with frozen diced carrots and peas on hand. > Related: 5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings

3. Monitor sales.

Check your local store’s circular or phone apps for coupons, sales and rewards programs. And when items are on sale, stock up! Try freezing or canning extra fruits and vegetables to extend their shelf life. Want more health news? Text StartHere to 85209 to sign up for text alerts

4. Go beyond organic.

Yes, choosing organic can mean reduced pesticides, Glass notes, but it doesn’t guarantee a product will provide more health benefits than its non-organic counterpart. But it definitely can mean a cost increase! When you choose non-organic produce, just remember to thoroughly wash it before eating to remove harmful contaminants, she says. “We have so many options for shopping – farmers’ markets year-round, co-ops and food services. I tell people to check all of them out to find the best pricing. It’s worth the extra effort to have nutritious meals without breaking the bank,” Glass says.

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