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Healthy Eating on a Budget

Wednesday, July 3 2013

Written by Carrie Darr, a registered dietitian at Lakeland Regional who is passionate about all things nutrition!

I’m sure you have all heard or even said before, “Eating healthy is just too expensive.”  But, it doesn’t necessarily have to cost more – you just have to know what you’re looking for and have a plan. Remember, eating healthy is an investment in yourself and it can cost you less in the long run.

Here are 10 tips to eating healthy and economically:

1.       Buy in bulk and when items are on sale

  • You can freeze perishable items such as meat and bread.
  • Nonperishable items such as dried beans and grains are usually cheaper than perishable goods.

2.       Shop seasonally

  • Fresh fruit often costs less when it’s in season. Visit a farmers market or join a produce club to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. When produce is not in season, frozen or canned vegetables (without added sugar or salt) are a good option.
  • Buy produce that stays fresh longer, such as: potatoes, apples, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots.

3.      Take advantage of coupons and reward cards

  • Clipping coupons or printing them from websites can often save 10-15% on your grocery bill.
  • Check out what’s on sale at your grocery store and plan your menu for the week around it.

4.       Shop the perimeter

  • Fresh produce, meats and dairy tend to be on the outer perimeter of supermarkets, so start there before hitting the inner aisles.

5.       Don’t shop when you are hungry

  • You’re more likely to make impulse purchases on less nutritious options that can cost more.

6.       Buy store brands

  • Oftentimes, store brands offer the same quality products as their national brand counterparts, but at a lower cost.

7.       Drink water instead of sugary drinks

8.       Buy in bulk and then make your own single-serving packs at home

  • Mix a box of whole grain cereal with raisins and a dash of cinnamon. Put small portions in baggies for on-the-go snacking.
  • Peel and cut up carrots; then place into little baggies for healthy snacks.

9.       Make a second meal or side dish from leftovers

  • Use leftover chicken or turkey in casseroles, soups, chili or stir-fry dishes.
  • Use leftover rice in soups and casseroles.
  • Add leftover cooked or raw vegetables to salads, omelets, pasta, or tuna.

10.   Go meatless for one or more days a week

  • Replace meats with beans for a less costly way to get protein—like black bean enchiladas or three-bean chili. Beans and rice are a nutritious way to stretch a dollar.

For more great information on healthy eating, visit


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