Eating Healthy on a Budget

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

Date: 05/17/11

Many of us have ambitions to improve our lives by setting goals for ourselves such as to to eat healthier or to save more money. Well, wouldn’t it be nice to take care of two things at once? It is a myth that eating healthy costs more money. If you take a little time to do some comparisons, you will find that you can save money while cutting out salt, fat, and sugar. Check out the following examples:

  • Water = free vs. Pop = $.50/can (ave. $100.00 and 7lb. sugar per year/person)
  • Turkey breast = $.16/oz vs. Turkey deli meat = $.57 / oz. (add salt)
  • Baked Potato = $.03 /oz vs. Potato chips = $.33/ oz. (add much more salt)
  • Oatmeal = $.03/oz vs. Packaged cereal = $.27/oz. (add sugar and salt)

These savings alone could save a household of 4 $1000.00 per year and much salt and sugar!

Here is a list of some overlooked cost savers found on the website www.foodandhealth.com, as well as some of other tips:

  1. Having the right ingredients on hand for preparing meals means you won’t spend extra dollars dining out.
  2. Vegetarian options, such as lentils and rice, or bean soup with vegetables, are hearty, cheap, and good for you.
  3. Cabbage is often forgotten. You can use it for slaw, tacos, stir fry dishes and more. At $.03 an ounce it’s a bargain and loaded with nutrients while being salt free, fat free, and sugar free. Stretch your lettuce which is more expensive by adding some cabbage.
  4. Apples and carrots make great snacks and side dishes for meals.
  5. Potatoes are underused. You can make oven fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and even pizza with them.
  6. Remember Portion Control. A 16 oz. steak should feed four people, not one.
  7. The best place to shop is often in your own pantry or freezer. Plan meals around what you have on hand. Hopefully you stocked up on different meats and grains when they were on sale.
  8. Set a goal to only have fruits, vegetables or nuts for a snack and get rid of those cookies, crackers and chips. Store bought cookies are $.42 a piece or a banana is $.20.
  9. Center your meal around vegetables and grains and then add small amounts of meat to enhance the dish, but not be the main focus.
  10. With protein being the most expensive item we usually purchase, stick to the lower cost proteins a couple times a week such as beans or eggs at $.06/oz, whole turkeys at $.08/oz vs. beef at $.40-.50/oz.

Remember that the least processed foods are usually the least expensive, yet the most healthy. You can find easy recipes for anything online to cook yourself. If you don’t know how, take a basic cooking class. The cost is worth the savings you will find by not buying pre-packaged foods or eating out as much. Make this the year that you introduce yourself to real food and real cooking while seeing your health improve and your savings grow.

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