Eating Healthy on a Budget

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Getting the most nutrition for your food budget starts with a little extra planning before you shop. There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. Here are some budget-friendly tips for eating right from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Plan what you’re going to eat. Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals and snacks for the week. Review recipes for what ingredients are needed. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy extra items that are not on it.

Decide how much to make. Making a large batch by doubling a recipe will save time in the kitchen. Extra portions can be used for lunches or meals later in the week or freeze leftovers in individual containers for future use. Plus, foods purchased in bulk are almost always cheaper.

Shop for foods that are in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to buy and may be a lot less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is also a great source of seasonal produce. Remember that some fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last long. Buy small amounts at a time to avoid having to throw away spoiled produce.

Cook more, eat out less. Many foods prepared at home are cheaper and more nutritious. Also, convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant rice or oatmeal will cost you more than if you make them from scratch. Go back to basics and find a few simple and healthy recipes that your family enjoys.

Make your own healthy snacks. Convenience costs money, so many snacks, even healthy ones, usually cost more when sold individually. Make your own snacks by purchasing a large container of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and dividing them into one cup containers. For trail mix, combine nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or cereal; store small portions in airtight containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less compared to prepackaged items.

Whether you are on a budget or trying to shop smarter, these helpful tips can help you enjoy healthy food without breaking the bank!

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