By Susan Manez MS,RD,CDN
It’s just after the holidays and you no doubt are feeling the pinch of holiday spending. There is a popular misconception that eating healthy is expensive. This might cause you to put off your healthy eating plans until you recover your finances.
The goal of this post is to tell you that this does not have to be the case. Eating healthy can actually be cheaper than, and just as easy as buying highly processed, poor quality “convenience foods”.
We have some helpful tips and resources that can make eating healthy on a budget much more feasible and pain-free. Hopefully these 7 tips will help you to continue on your path to a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Gather circulars from various local markets and compare prices of poultry, fish, dairy and produce; shop where the prices are lowest and the deals are biggest.
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking a few minutes each week to clip coupons. Remember, manufacturers coupons can be used in any major retailer.
Make a List
Avoid “winging it” in the store. Make a list and stick with it. When you go into a situation prepared you are more likely to achieve success, and that is true with grocery shopping.
Fresh does not always mean best
Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh and last much longer, preventing waste; just be sure to choose vegetables frozen without additional seasonings or sauces, it’s always best to season vegetables yourself.
Frozen proteins can also be a healthful, long-lasting option, but be sure you avoid fish or poultry that is breaded, fried or heavily sauced or seasoned, as additives and breading can pack on the fat, sodium and calories.
Foods with long ingredient lists may often be cheaper than less processed options, but they will not help you meet your weight loss goals. Choose minimally processed foods, low in calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates; whenever possible choose fresh or frozen produce and proteins. These foods will give you more nutrition for your buck, while helping reduce your waistline.
Work the Perimeter
The healthiest, freshest, and least processed options will line the outer walls of the store. This is where you will find fresh and frozen produce, fresh poultry and seafood, and a variety of low fat/fat free dairy options.
Buy In Season Produce
With each season comes a variety of fruits and vegetables that are fresh, local and by far cheaper than their out of season counterparts. Supermarkets can purchase in season produce from local vendors, which cut the price by eliminating the shipping and storage fees. Plus, you get foods fresh from the earth instead of old from the storage room.
You can find a phone app to show you a list of fruits and vegetables that are currently in season
Hopefully these tips and resources will help you continue on your path towards a healthy lifestyle