Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank!
March is National Nutrition Month, so this month we’re focusing on eating healthy and nutritiously. Fueling your body the right way can greatly affect the way you’re able to take on challenges thrown at you, and helps provide the energy you need to keep moving forward. For those experiencing symptoms or side effects that affect the appetite, it may be hard to eat like you normally would, but it’s important to make sure you are still getting healthy vitamins and nutrients. Although many of us are aware of general dietary guidelines, it can be overwhelming when looking at the sometimes-steep prices for the healthy options we’re told to eat. Eating healthy can seem like too expensive of a task or one that may take a lot of effort while fatigued and tired from treatment. However, some of these simple tips and tricks may help you move towards eating nutritiously without breaking the bank.
Making Room in Your Budget
While good food can come at a higher price, adjusting your budget or the way you shop may free up some extra wiggle room to spend a little more. Some of these simple adjustments may free up more money than expected to put towards higher quality items:
- Shop at budget-friendly stores, and buy their own brand
- Go grocery shopping alone, and have a pre-planned list (but stock up when something you frequently buy is on sale!)
- Buy items in bulk that don’t spoil easily, and opt for frozen produce when possible
- When buying fresh produce, buy what’s in season. Frequenting local farmer’s markets can also help with this!
- Take advantage of store rewards points, sales, and coupons
- Avoid buying bottled water (if possible!)
Invest in Nutrient-Dense Foods
While fast food can be inexpensive and quick, many of the additives and processes used to make these items can actually do more harm to our bodies. For example, junk food serving sizes are typically very small which may make you feel hungrier soon after ingesting. This can lead to more spending (on another meal because you’re hungry again). Junk food, particularly when it contains a lot of sugar, can also make you feel sluggish.
On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are much more nutrient-dense and serving sizes are often massive in comparison to processed foods. Eating a large serving of produce may actually fill you up longer and give you more energy than several small servings of chips or crackers. Only you know what your time and budget needs are, but if you feel like you’re picking convenient options because you’re fatigued or are not feeling up to making a meal at home, it could be time to invest in options that will give you more energy and strength to get through the day!
Did you know that there are governmental and non-governmental sources of support that can help you purchase healthier options? Some programs can even assist you in making meals if you qualify. Check out some of these options below to see if they may work for you:
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Elderly Nutrition Program
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
While healthier foods may seem more expensive, the long term benefits often greatly outweigh cheaper processed food. Not just in terms of saving money, but also by increasing energy, portion sizes, and overall health benefits. Only you know what you have the time and budget for, but eating healthy doesn’t always have to be a scary or overwhelming feat.
What are your tips on eating healthy without breaking the bank?