In this economy, the food budget is one place you may be able to cut expenses. But what is the wisest way to accomplish that goal? Making poor food choices actually increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure; so when you cut your food budget, don’t cut out necessary nutrients. Moreover, the healthiest foods have fewer (or edible!) packaging–fruits and veggies, or buying nuts and grains in bulk are excellent ways to increase nutrition while decreasing waste.
ChicagoHealers.com Dr. Kristina L. Sargent, D.C., offers the following tips for low-cost nutrition:
* Stay on the Perimeter: To choose the healthiest foods, stay on the perimeter of the store. You don’t really need to make your way into the aisles – where the processed stuff is located – why tempt yourself to spend your money on food without nutrients, that stresses your body.
* Cut out processed foods: foods, chips, muffins, cookies, soda, sports drinks and other beverages. Most of those foods don’t have many nutrients, like vitamins and antioxidants, and they actually rob your body of nutrients as your body tries to process them. Fitness expert Dustin Maher reminds us not to eat anything from a bag or box, and I think the landfills would agree.
* Meal Plan: Start by planning a week or so’s worth of meals, be sure to include breakfast, lunch if you pack your own, dinner and snacks. You can save time by building up a recipe file with your favorite dishes. You can use cookbooks, print out recipes you find online or keep copies of recipes in a special folder on your computer. Grab the advertisements for your local grocery store to see what’s on special — you can save even more money by planning some of your meals around those sale items.
* Buy frozen foods: With frozen foods you don’t have to worry about spoilage and you will be getting more of the nutrients your body needs to combat stress.
* Buy in bulk: Buy chicken and ground meat in bulk, freezing it in family-sized portions. The same goes for nuts, seeds, grains, flour and snacks.
* Cut Coupons: Look for online coupons as well as the coupons in newspapers and magazines.
* Go veg: Add more vegetarian meals to your diet–a meal consisting of beans or tofu with a grain and vegetables fuels the body, helps the budget and preserves our environment.
* Use your own Water: Buy a water-filter pitcher instead of expensive individual bottles of water. More importantly, the bottled water industry is not regulated–you may be paying more for water that is not even as purified as your own tap water. Read more to learn.