Healthy Eating on the Cheap

Eating wholesome and delicious foods can help to ensure long-term health.  With our current economy however, it can be a challenge to maintain a healthy diet while sticking to a budget. The good news:  you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy tasty, nutritious foods.  Here are some tips to healthy eating on the cheap!

Tips for your next trip to the grocery store:

Focus on bulk foods.  Shop bulk foods for pantry basics - they offer a significant savings to your wallet.  Shopping bulk also allows you to purchase only what you need, which limits waste.

It is healthy around the edges.  The healthier foods – produce, dairy, and meats - are found around the perimeter of the store.  Shop the edges first to fill your cart with healthy, whole foods and then the interior of the store if your budget allows.  When purchasing produce, choose local and/or organic fruits and vegetables for the freshest, healthiest options.

Follow your list.  Impulse purchases often result in high-calorie items. 

Beware of end-aisle displays.  These are often packed with not-so-healthy, processed foods.

Read labels.  Pre-packaged foods can contain hidden sugar in the form of corn syrup, cane juice, fructose, dextrose or maltose. 

HERE ARE A FEW INEXPENSIVE AND HEALTHY FOODS TO ADD TO YOUR SHOPPING LIST:

  • Oatmeal – Nutritious and delicious, oatmeal is an inexpensive source of whole grains and fiber. 
  • Dried Beans – Economical beans make wonderful hearty soups, side dishes and salsas.  Beans are chock full of fiber and healthy carbohydrates!
  • Garlic – This healthy antioxidant adds delicious flavor to many savory dishes. Studies show that garlic may also be helpful in the reduction of blood pressure.
  • Celery – High in fiber, with virtually NO calories, celery has also been shown to help lower blood pressure, and it goes a long way!
  • Onion – High in quercetin – an antioxidant said to boost immunity – onion is a zesty, inexpensive addition to many savory dishes including omelets, sandwiches, salads and casseroles!
  • Apples – Also high in quercetin and fiber, apples are cheap and extremely versatile.  Eat them whole for a great snack, add to salads or pair with oatmeal to create a healthy and delicious apple crisp for dessert.

Tips for eating and cooking at home:

Cook large portions and enjoy leftovers – make a hearty, crockpot full of nutritious soup and a large salad for next-day leftovers.  Pre-made, healthy options in the refrigerator result in less consumption of junk food.  

Cook from scratch in lieu of buying packaged or pre-made meals.  Statistics show that processed foods are the #1 cause of obesity in our country.  Scratch cooking allows you to choose what you will be eating – like fat, calories, salt and sugar.  Also when you purchase your basics in bulk, you can really stretch your grocery dollar.

Eat out less often for your wallet and your waistline.  When you do eat out, choose restaurants and fast-food establishments that offer economical, healthy choices.

Eliminate junk foods like soda, cookies, candy and chips.  Not only are these foods expensive, but they are full of empty calories.  Also, because they are high in sugar, they don’t keep us full for long.  Energy from junk foods gets quickly used, and we crave more!  Purchase a bag of oranges, popcorn, rice cakes or a box of graham crackers for healthier, more budget-friendly (but still delicious) snack options.

Healthy cooking – and eating – doesn’t have to be expensive.  With a little planning, it is entirely possible to enjoy healthy foods on the cheap.  Focus on the tips above for economical, tasty and nutritious meals!

Source:

http://www.helpguide.org/life/healthy_eating_on_budget.htm

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