Health issues and poor nutrition are more common when times are tight, but a healthy diet does not have to be impossible. As a part of our programs, we want to provide options to make it easier for everyone to include nutrient packed food in day-to-day life. We had the opportunity to speak with Registered Dietician, Amaris Bradley, and get her top five tips to make healthy eating on a tight budget possible.
1. Don’t shy away from non-perishables.
You can stock up on dried beans, lentils, rice or rolled oats to keep in your pantry. Canned tuna or salmon, peanut butter and other high-protein items are great, nutrient-dense options that will fill you up. There are plenty of inexpensive recipes that you can find to use your non-perishable items!
2. Shop by unit price.
When you’re at the store, look at the unit price. This will be listed next to the retail price on the shelf tag. The unit price shows you how much the product costs per ounce, gram etc. and allows you to find the best deal regardless of package size.
3. Enjoy produce in all forms.
When buying fresh produce that’s in season, locally grown fruits and vegetables give you the best bang for your buck. You can get lower prices since there are no extra fees from traveling across the country to get to your supermarket!
Some farmer’s markets recognize SNAP benefits and will match or double the amount of produce you can buy. You can ask at the market’s welcome table to see if they have such a program.
If fresh produce isn’t an option, the freezer section of the grocery store is a gold mine for produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to enjoy produce at a budget-friendly price, and they are always picked and frozen at their peak to guarantee it is just as healthy as its fresh counterpart. Bonus: no need to worry about spoilage!
4. Make use of your freezer.
The freezer is your friend! There’s nothing worse than finding food that’s gone bad in your refrigerator. Try to keep tabs on what is in your fridge so you can save it from the garbage! Just use a resealable freezer bag to preserve it. If you have leftover ingredients after a meal, toss those in a resealable bag and freeze it. They make great add-ins for recipes later!
5. Plan ahead.
Before buying groceries, think about what quick meals you could prepare. Know that you will eat everything that goes into your cart, whether it be bean quesadillas, tuna sandwiches or lentil soup. This will prevent you from buying unnecessary items and it will keep your perishable foods from spoiling due to neglect.
A Healthy Diet Doesn’t have to be a Luxury
Healthy eating can be affordable and attainable for every person. Financial insecurity can put a speed bump in a family’s ability to live a healthy lifestyle, but by making small adjustments and using available resources we can start a change in ourselves. One step toward a healthy lifestyle can begin the journey to fulfilling your greatest potential.