Four Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
With a few simple steps, your family can eat healthy meals and snacks – even on a budget. Use some of our tips and tricks when you shop to balance your plate with nutrient packed foods. This will lead to better health and reduced risk for many health problems.
Sally Bonnema, RD, is a pediatric dietitian with Bronson Outpatient Nutrition Services. She meets with kids and families to create nutrition plans which target their specific nutrition needs. “Eating healthy while staying on a budget can be overwhelming,” Bonnema says. “By using some of these ideas, you can create healthy and tasty snacks and meals that meet your nutritional needs, while sticking to your budget.”
Why eat healthy?
- The appeal, smell and taste of home prepared meals are very satisfying and nurturing for the family.
- Regular, balanced meals provide a steady supply of fuel to satisfy hunger, maintain activity and power our brains during the day.
- It allows you and your family to get the right balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
- These nutrients are also vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies.
What are some cost saving tips?
- Clean out your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what you already have and what you need. This is a great first step before planning your meals.
- Select and plan your meals using the advertised sales from the grocery store.
- Cut coupons to reduce the cost of foods that are staples in your pantry or needed for preparing certain recipes.
- Buy your produce in season and only buy an amount you will use within the week.
- Prepare only one meal for your whole family instead of multiple small ones.
- Shop when you are not hungry. You will be less likely to buy items that are not on your list.
What kinds of food should I limit in my family’s diet?
- Make the most of every dollar you spend on food. Compare the nutrition benefits from an orange, whole grain cracker or a yogurt with what a bottle of pop and bag of chips can offer. This will help ensure you are getting the most nutrients for your money.
- Packaged frozen meals are likely to cost more, be higher in sodium/salt, fat and additives compared to a home prepared version.
What are some low cost healthy food tips?
- Visit your community’s farmers market for local, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- During our growing season, start a garden with your children and grow your own vegetables.
- Plan a meatless meal one or two nights a week. Beans, eggs, tofu, peanut butter and nuts are healthy foods that are high in protein and easy on your wallet.
- If buying in bulk, make sure you can reasonably use the product by its expiration date or freeze it to extend the use-by date.
Try these websites for healthy recipes:
This article is brought to you by Bronson Children’s Hospital, southwest Michigan’s only children’s hospital. For more information about children’s health, visit bronsonhealth.com/children.