National Nutrition Month® is designated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promoting nutrition education and information. Attention is focused on making informed food choices and to develop good eating and physical activity habits. Throughout the month of March, we can all strive toward health with this year’s theme: “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” Remember, being healthy does not have to be expensive! There are many different ways to save while still getting optimal nutrition for you and your family. To help you incorporate some healthy habits, here are some budget-friendly tips for eating right.
1. Stick to your list
Plan what your meals and snacks will be for the week before you even head to the grocery store. Making a list of all the items you need to purchase will help prevent you from purchasing things that you don’t really need. Skip highly processed items and snack foods to prevent spending extra money and filling your cart with not-so-healthy items.
2. Determine where to shop
Many local supermarkets offer sales and coupons for their customers, especially for pricey ingredients like meat and seafood. Compare national brands and private store labels for the lowest unit price.
3. Grains and dry goods
Whole grains and dried beans are generally inexpensive and can also be easy ways to get more fiber and protein in your diet. Make a quarter of your plate whole grains for a balanced diet. Some of these items are nonperishable and can be incorporated into your everyday meals. Take advantage of sales. Stocking up in bulk for a good way to save money.
4. Try frozen fruits
You don’t need to rely on fresh fruits to get the most nutrition out of your diet. Frozen fruits are often less expensive and just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Frozen fruits can be incorporated into a smoothie; they are also tasty by themselves. Dried fruits in moderation (1/4 cup) are also a great option for a healthy snack. They are nutrient-rich and taste great. You can add them to your snack mix bag with various nuts.
5. Try frozen vegetables
These items are non-perishable and budget friendly. Frozen vegetables are easy to prepare and nutrient-dense. When frozen vegetables are not an option, canned vegetables can also be a good choice. Canned vegetables are nutrient-rich, but some nutrients may be lost during the preservation process. Make sure you read the labels and look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” options, to ensure minimal salt content. Another way to limit your sodium intake from canned products is to rinse them before consumption
6. Cook more, dine out less
It sounds simple, but it’s effective. Cooking at home is cheaper and more nutritious than dining out. Find a few healthy and simple recipes that your family will enjoy to get the most value out of your budget. You control the ingredients, so know exactly what you’re eating. For some fun, healthy recipes, visit eatright.org.
Guest Author: Alice Ko, Drexel University Dietetic Intern