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Eating a Healthy Diet on a Budget

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, March 9, 2020

Eating a healthy diet can be one of the most important steps you can take toward overall better health. A nutritious eating plan can ward off, or even reverse some chronic diseases. But you might believe that it’s impossible to eat well on a limited income… Luckily, that isn’t true for most people.

Consider the following strategies and incorporate them into your regular routine, and you can eat a diet that is healthy but also affordable.

Plan ahead. It’s easier to stick to a pre-planned diet, than to come up with one spontaneously. Take the time to plan your meals for each week, make a grocery list, and then shop for everything you need.

Some people find that using a “reverse” strategy works for them. Instead of choosing meals and then shopping for necessary ingredients, they check out the sales ads for their favorite supermarket. Then, they design their meal plan based on that week’s promotions.

Head to the farmers market. A healthy diet is based upon fresh fruits and vegetables, and your local farmers market allows you to purchase produce straight from the source. You can get a better deal on groceries, while also obtaining fresher, higher quality produce.

Include affordable proteins. Meat can be expensive, especially when you don’t shop sales. But other sources of protein (like eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans, lentils, and tofu) can provide adequate protein without breaking the bank.

Consider meal kits. For retirees without large families, buying groceries can often feel wasteful. You might not use everything before it expires, and there’s no need to purchase large amounts of ingredients needed for each recipe. Mail-order meal kits make the perfect solution for those who want to keep their waste – and their costs – down.

Hydrate with water. If you’re relying upon diet soda or other flavored drinks, you’re probably spending too much on fluids. Drink mostly water, and you can save a bit on your grocery expenditures. Ordering water at restaurants can save you several dollars per meal, too. That adds up over time!

Identify budget-friendly restaurant options. Sometimes you don’t feel like cooking, and that’s okay. Know where your healthy, affordable options are located ahead of time, so that you’re not tempted to overspend on impulsive restaurant meals.

Remember to consult with your doctor about the best meal plan for your needs. He or she can help you balance your diet to accomplish weight loss, reduce risk of diabetes, and meet other goals you might want to address.


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