Healthstyle Blog

Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have to Bust Your Budget

Have you been hesitant to change your diet because you worry that buying fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats will increase your grocery costs? Don’t let budget concerns deter you from adopting better eating habits. Consider these money saving shopping tips that will keep your diet and budget on track.

Shop the farmer’s market.  Farmer’s markets are cropping up again all over the country. Visit later in the day for deep discounts on produce vendors would rather not cart home. It may not be as pretty, but it will taste just as good. So I decided to take my own advice and take a trip to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market in Atlanta yesterday evening. Quite a hike from where I live, however the savings and wide range of vegetables and fruits cannot be beat. I saved a pretty penny (well maybe more than that) on fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. I was also able to find fruits that are common in my country, Nigeria, however are normally hard to find in Atlanta. I was excited to see sugar cane and guava. I opted not to purchase the sugar cane but could not resist buying the guava. See the picture of a guava below, much bigger than the ones I see in my country.

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Give up soda. Not only have studies shown that the consumption of sugary soft drinks contributes to obesity, but the zero calorie versions add nothing in the way of nutrition. Trim these beverages from your shopping list along with juices and sport drinks.

Buy in-season and local. Produce is less expensive when it’s in season and grown locally. Build meals around fruits and vegetables that are currently plentiful—you’re more likely to find them on sale.

Go frozen. Most frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as their fresh counterparts—and often less expensive. Watch for sales and consider frozen varieties of versatile favorites including berries, peas, corn, beans and spinach.

Try cheaper proteins. Lean meats including chicken and fish are diet staples, but you can save money on meals when you substitute eggs, lentils, beans or whole grains a few times each week.

Buy generic. Why do name brands cost more than store brands? The answer is because their manufacturers spend loads of cash on pricy advertising. Choosing generic versions of most foods will get you the same nutrition at a lower price.

Shop the bulk aisle. Most grocery stores have a section where you can buy product “in bulk.” Look there for pastas, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruits and other staples. Because they don’t include packaging, the price is often lower.

Plan your attack. Take time once a week to plan out meals and snacks before visiting the store with a list of essentials. When creating your menu, consider items already in your pantry as well as current sales.

Studies have shown that losing even 5 percent of your body weight—or 7.5 pounds if you’re a 150-pound woman—can make a big difference to your health.

P.S. I’m not one that really likes cooking, however with fresh produce in bags all over my kitchen table, my inner domestic diva (the domestic diva only comes out once in a while) took over me and I decided to get adventurous and whip up a delightful dinner for hubby and I (pictured above), even though I had something else planned on the menu.

Have a healthy Day!

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