You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to find healthier alternatives within your budget that do not require fancy cooking skills.
“Eating healthy is too expensive.”
“I don’t have time/know how to cook healthy meals.”
“My store doesn’t carry fresh fruits and vegetables.”
We often feel the above statements are true when trying to eat healthy on a budget. Eating healthy is about making the most of your resources.
Tip #1: Choose the store brand
Check the store brand’s price and a name brand price by comparing the unit prices. For example, the Dollar Store carries its own brand, Clover Valley, as well as a name brand for some items. The store’s brand is usually cheaper than the name brand, but not always. Also, by reading the label you may also find that the store brand may have less salt than a name brand—a healthier trade-off for those with high blood pressure or heart disease.
Tip #2: When choosing canned products, check the label
When fresh or frozen options aren’t available, canned products are a good alternative. They have a long shelf life and don’t require refrigeration. If no low-sodium option is available, reduce the sodium by rinsing your canned vegetables and beans with water before use. Likewise, drain the syrup from your canned fruits to reduce sugar intake.
Tip #3: Go for lean protein
Choose from a variety of proteins: canned chicken breast (in water), canned tuna (in water), eggs, string cheese, peanut butter, pinto beans, kidney beans, and black beans are all fantastic sources of protein! In addition to being a budget-friendly protein, beans are a great source of fiber. Fiber is good for your heart and digestive health.
Tip #4: Snack Smart
Swap snack cakes out for dried fruits such as prunes or raisins for extra fiber and sweetness. Select protein-rich snacks like trail mix, pistachios, cashews, almonds, and peanuts to keep you full longer.
Sample of 1 day menu based on discount store, costing around $9
1 packet Quaker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
4 oz Peaches
4 oz Prunes
|Mid-morning Snack||3 oz Planter’s Trail Mix|
|Lunch||1/2 can chili with beans|
1 can creamed corn
2 Fig Newtons
|Afternoon Snack||6 Triscuits|
3 pieces of string cheese
1 box of raisins
|Dinner||Spinach Chicken Alfredo (2 oz angel hair spaghetti, |
4 oz of spinach, 2 oz chicken breast)
1/2 cup French-style green beans
The above sample menu is based on an average 2,000 calorie diet and is NOT based on individual needs. Please consult with a Registered Dietitian for individualized recommendations.