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Nutrition News: Eating Healthy on a Budget

Charlyn Fargo on

Is it really possible to eat healthy on a budget? With rising grocery costs, it may seem like doing the impossible.

According to a recent survey by The Hartman Group, some 85% of consumers have noticed food costs rising. Over half of those people say rising prices have impacted their ability to purchase foods, beverages and other grocery items. And 25% admit they have to rethink how they shop for groceries.

Here are some steps you can take to manage food costs -- and still eat healthy.

No. 1: Eat out less. If you prepare a meal at home, you can add fruits and vegetables and cook with whole grains. While fresh may be best in season, frozen or canned (look for no-salt-added) can be the most economical when not in season. Also consider other sources of protein besides meat, like black beans, lentils, quinoa and eggs.

No. 2: Skip or reduce soft drinks and energy drinks.

No. 3: Choose larger containers of unsweetened yogurt to add to fresh or frozen fruit, smoothies and oatmeal.

 

No. 4: Choose canned or frozen seafood, such as tuna or cod. Fish is a great source of protein. Look for the reduced-sodium tuna and tuna packed in water rather than oil.

No. 5: Eat from your own freezer. You already have purchased it. Take an inventory and plan your meals around what you already have in your freezer. Have a taco night with ground beef or use those frozen vegetables in a quick stir-fry.

No. 6: Reduce your food waste. Can you repurpose leftovers? I love to cook a whole chicken in my slow cooker and serve the chicken with potatoes and vegetables the first day, then use the leftover chicken in a quesadilla, chicken salad, chicken chili or chicken enchiladas. You can even make homemade chicken noodle soup and broth with the bones. A rotisserie chicken works as well.

No. 7: Plan your meals. My mom used to get the grocery store flyer and plan our meals around what was on sale. Today, you can do the same thing with the grocery store's app. A few places even still offer coupons. Clip and save. Planning your meals also helps avoid overbuying. Knowing what's for dinner reduces the temptation to eat out. Plan meals to include a protein, vegetable, fruit, whole grain and low-fat dairy.

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