Eating Well On a Budget

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In a world where the cost of living seems to rise steadily, maintaining a healthy diet can feel like an uphill battle, especially for those on a tight budget. However the good news is that eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. With some strategic planning and savvy shopping, you can nourish your body without emptying your wallet.

Plan Your Meals: one of the most effective strategies for eating healthy on a budget is to plan your meals in advance. Take some time each week to plan out your meals and snacks. This not only helps you stick to a grocery list but also prevents impulse purchases and reduces food waste. Look for recipes that use affordable common nutrient-rich ingredients like beans, lentils, whole grains, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Shop Smart: when it comes to grocery shopping, a little bit of strategy can go a long way. Start by making a list based on your meal plan and stick to it while you’re at the store. Avoid shopping when you are hungry, as this can lead to impulse buys. Take advantage of sales and discounts, and consider buying generic or store brand products, which are often cheaper than name brands but offer similar quality and nutritional value.

Buying Bulk: purchasing items in bulk can often save you money in the long run. Look for staple foods like rice, pasta, oats and dried beans in the bulk section of your grocery store or at wholesale clubs. Buying larger quantities can lower the cost per serving and reducing the number of shopping trips you need to make. Friendly reminder to make half of your grains whole grains. Examples of whole grains are foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, farro etc.

Check if your grocery store has a bulk section!

Embrace Plant-Based Proteins: meat and poultry can be expensive, but there are plenty of affordable alternatives that are just as nutritious. Plant based proteins like beans lentils, tofu, and tempeh are not only budget friendly but also packed with fiber vitamins and minerals. Incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet can help you save money while improving your health. If this is a new concept to you, don’t be afraid to start slow! For example you can try “Meatless Mondays”, “Tofu Tuesdays” or “Sustainable Saturdays.”

Minimize Food Waste: food waste not only hurts your wallet but it has a significant environmental impact. To reduce food waste, try to use up ingredients before they spoil, freeze leftovers for future meals and get creative with meal planning to repurpose ingredients. Using vegetable scraps to make homemade broth or incorporating leftover grains or vegetables into soups or stir fries or great ways to minimize waste and stretch your food budget further.

CalFresh (SNAP)

There are various reason why someone might find themselves in need of financial support when it comes to affording food. CalFresh (SNAP) is California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which provides crucial assistance by supplementing individuals and families with funds to purchase groceries, ensuring they have access to nourishing meals during difficult times.

If you or someone you know could benefit from CalFresh (SNAP) services please visit https://www.cdss.ca.gov/calfresh to learn more and to apply. Eligibility is based on factors such as income, household size, and expenses.

By planning your meals, shopping smart, buying in bulk, embracing plant-based proteins and minimizing food waste, you can enjoy nutritious and delicious meals without breaking the bank. Remember small changes in your shopping and eating habits can add up to big savings and significant health benefits over time.

Healthy regards,

Cassandra Valle, RDN

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. No material provided in this blog, including images and graphics, is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider before making any dietary changes or starting a new health care regimen.  Do not neglect professional advice because of what you may have read in this blog.

Portrait of JNCS Registered Dietitian Nutritionis CassandraAbout the Author: Cassandra is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She graduated with a B.S in Nutritional Science with a concentration in Dietetics in from San Jose State University. Cassandra believes nutrition information, as it exists today, does not fully accommodate all cultural traditions and backgrounds. Cassandra’s goal is to work with individuals step-by-step to help them achieve their personal nutritional health and wellness goals. It is her passion to help individuals cultivate positive, sustainable healthy nutritional habits that they can carry with them throughout life.

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