Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
YOUR MONEY OR YOUR HEALTH ?
When is comes to nutrition, sometimes it can seem like a choice between the two. Researchers recently calculated the cost of following the governments dietary guidelines in one metropolitan area. Eating the right foods, such as vegetables and whole grains, was more expensive than eating a lot of sugar and saturated fat. In fact, getting enough of just one nutrient-potassium-added up to an additional $380 per year.
But don’t stop reading just yet. For one thing, these estimates may not apply to all areas of the country. And it’s still possible to eat well without breaking the bank. Here’s how:
Make a meal plan. Each week survey your pantry, look for coupons and grocery store newspapers. Search for recipes using ingredients that are on sale or that you already have, and plan out healthy dishes for each meal. Then make a shopping list, and stick to it.
Eat in Season. Fruits and vegetables picked at their prime are less expensive. Search farmers markets for fresh, reasonably priced produce. Spring time favorites include green beans, rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus.
Grow your own. Spring is the best time to plant seeds or seedlings. Invest a little in them now and you’ll earn lots of rewards later in the summer. Even if you don’t have space for a garden, you can grow lettuce in a window box, cherry tomatoes in a pot on your front porch, or herbs in indoor containers.
Avoid pre cut produce. Whole produce often costs much less than pre cut. Chop your fruits and vegetables at home instead. Also, stay clear of single serving packs and bagged salads. You’ll pay more for the packaging.
Learn to love legumes. Kidney, garbanzo, or black beans pack a powerful protein for less money then meat and without the saturated fat. Buy them dried or canned.
Try Bulk. Buying staples like grains, nuts, and spices from bulk bins can help you save. Measure out only what you need to avoid waste.
Sources include: American Diabetes Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Affairs.