Healthy Eating on a Budget

Joy Miller, RD, LD
Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent
Adult Development and Aging
Family Resource Management
K-State Research and Extension
Southwind Extension District
210 S. National
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Office: 620-223-3720
Fax: 620-223-0332
joymiller@ksu.edu

 

Seller’s market is what one might call our current economy. The cost of homes and vehicles are highly valued due to demand exceeding availability. This demand-pull on goods and services causes higher than average inflation rates, affecting everyday items we purchase such as the food we eat at or away from home. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), food prices have changed 4-5% from a year ago. With a higher cost of items, paying closer attention to spending and habits may be important to stay within financial budgets and goals.

Healthy eating is important at every age—and can be done on a budget. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy or fortified soy alternatives. When deciding what to eat or drink, choose options that are full of nutrients and limited in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Start with these tips:

  • Plan, plan, plan. Plan your meals for the week based on your food budget and make a grocery list that includes staples and perishables. Save money by buying only what you need.
  • Compare similar products. Locate the “unit price” on the shelf sticker near the item price. Compare different brands and sizes for the best money-saving option.
  • Stretch your food dollars. Add beans and canned or frozen vegetables to bulk up your meals and make your food dollars go farther. You will reap the benefits of extra fiber, vitamins, and nutrients while feeling full.
  • Grow your own in your home. Grow herbs like basil and oregano inside your home for a fraction of the price. Small gardens can be grown on a windowsill or a kitchen counter.
  • Buy in bulk. Save money by buying larger quantities of foods that store well like whole grains, canned or dried beans, and frozen vegetables. Don’t overbuy foods that you will throw out later.
  • Look for on-sale produce. Grocery stores rotate their sales and buying what is on sale is a great way to save money and get variety. Do the same with frozen and canned items.

The benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. For more tips on healthy eating on a budget visit myplate.gov/eat-healthy/healthy-eating-budget. For more information, contact Joy Miller at joymiller@ksu.edu or by calling 620.223.3720.

 

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