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Healthy Eating on a Budget

Many moms, dads and grandparents are trying to make the most of every dollar while feeding their family the best quality food they can.

Eating healthy doesn't have to be hard or cost a lot of money. It takes some planning, but there are many resources for families, including healthy low-cost recipes, shopping tips and sample menus.

Here are some tips from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and US Department of Agriculture on eating healthy while sticking within your budget.

Before you head to the supermarket, make a grocery list. Note the food you have on hand and any leftovers and plan the meals coming up for the week. This will help you avoid buying items you don’t need and stick to your budget.

·         Buy large bags of frozen vegetables and full heads of lettuce and spinach. Vegetables that are not already cut up will last longer and cost less than pre-bagged salad mixes.

·         Buy fresh vegetables and fruit when they are in season; they cost less. Choose fruit canned in 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables with “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. These products are just as nutritious as fresh, last longer and often cost less.

·         Buy low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese in the largest size that you can use before they spoil. Buy the larger size of low-fat plain yogurt instead of individual flavored yogurts, and mix in your own fruits for flavoring. Did you know that ultra-pasteurized milk has a longer expiration date, so it won’t spoil as fast as regular milk?

·         Dried beans (pinto, black, kidney) and peas are a good source of protein and fiber and last a long time. If you have a slow-cooker, they are easy to cook.

·         Buy meat in large bulk packages. You can freeze it in smaller portions if it is too much to use right away. Chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and costs less than sirloin. Eggs and canned tuna are also budget friendly.

·         Choose regular whole grain oatmeal and brown rice. Instant rice, oatmeal, and grits cost more and have more sugar and calories.

·         If your store sells bread that is a day old, it costs less than fresh bread. Consider toasting it or using it in recipes that call for bread crumbs, like meatloaf.

More resources: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has an article with strategies for healthy eating for guys.

The US Department of Agriculture’s “Choose My Plate Initiative” has more tips on meal planning and shopping. Click here for information on saving money at the grocery store.

Your JPS health care team can answer questions about what you and your children should eat. You can make an appointment through the JPS MyChart online tool or by calling 817-702-1100.


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