Monday, March 1, 2021
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these tips on keeping costs down while improving your nutritional health.
- Write a shopping list and plan your meals for the week. Before heading to the grocery store, make a list of what you will need to prepare healthy meals and snacks for the week. Not only will you save money by better understanding what ingredients you have at home and what you need to buy, having a list will help you avoid making unhealthy impulse purchases.
- Make home-cooked meals and snacks. Eating food from restaurants can be expensive and unhealthy. Try making your own meals at home so you can choose healthy ingredients. If possible, avoid pre-packaged foods like frozen dinners that can have a lot of added sodium and fat. They may also cost more per serving than a homemade meal.
- Prepare extra portions. When making a favorite meal or snack, consider preparing a larger batch to freeze or eat as leftovers. This will save you time in the future and may save you money since there will be less food waste.
- Compare, compare, compare. Shop around to determine what grocery store in your area offers the best deals. Make sure to pay attention to store specials and coupons. When shopping, compare the nutrition labels and prices of products. Consider buying the generic brand if cheaper than the name brand. On the price tag below the product, take a look at the unit price when making your comparisons. Quick tip: If you use a certain product often, it may be more cost-effective to buy a larger size of that product now so you do not have to buy it as frequently.
- Choose in-season fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are healthy and usually budget-friendly when in season. When not in season, you may consider frozen or canned/jarred fruits and vegetables. Look for low-sodium or “no salt added” canned vegetables and canned/jarred fruit in either water or 100% juice for the healthiest options.
- Buy healthy, low-cost foods. Incorporate some of these nutritious, inexpensive foods into your meal plan: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peas, beans, lentils, peanut butter, canned meats (tuna, crabmeat, salmon), eggs, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, and grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats).
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables. Planting a fruit and vegetable garden can save you money and is a fun activity for the family. Plus, it may encourage children and even adults to try something new or eat more of the healthy, homegrown foods.
- Visit a local farmer’s market. A farmer’s market offers in-season, locally grown fruits and vegetables that may be less expensive than the grocery store. And, you are supporting local growers in your area.
- Drink water. Consuming water is inexpensive and the best way to stay hydrated. Sodas and other sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks are expensive and not the best choice for your overall health.
In addition to focusing on your nutritional habits, make sure you are also staying active, getting plenty of sleep and remaining as stress-free as possible. Also, don’t forget to get your flu vaccination, wear a face mask, be diligent about hand washing and cleaning high-touch surfaces, avoid gathering in large groups and stay at least six feet away from others.
Although we hope these tips will help improve your health, we know that you and your family members will still get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, Norman Regional has you covered. Log on to Norman Regional Virtual Care and visit with a provider today from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $55 for each visit.