Tips and Tricks for Eating on a Budget
Diabetes In Control, a weekly diabetes newsletter, recently reported that food insecurity was shown to be associated with poor diabetes control. In March of this year, type2diabetes.com posted an article reviewing various government and non-government programs that offer free or reduced cost health care as well as food and prescription coverage to assist with some of these insecurities. While these programs can offer relief and assistance to those who qualify, there are many other ways to save and stretch your dollar when it comes to grocery shopping. There is a common misconception that eating healthy will cost more, however, by reading the following list of tips and tricks, you will learn how you can save money at the grocery store while keeping your kitchen stocked with nutrient dense, healthy foods.
- Buy store brand. According to industry experts you will save on average 25 percent.
- Shop at budget friendly stores such a Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s
- Make a monthly grocery budget. Track the last several months of grocery expenses to see what you typically spend on groceries.
- Make a shopping list before going to the grocery store. Having a shopping list will help limit impulse purchases.
- Make a menu and purchase only what you need to make meals on the menu.
- Buy in bulk. Foods worth buying in bulk include: dried beans, dried fruit, dry whole wheat pasta, frozen fruits and vegetables, and canned items such as salmon and tuna.
- Buy produce that is in season. The following website provides information on as to what is in season, and when it is in season: http://www.simplesteps.org/eat-local.
- Shop at your local farmers market.
- Skip convenience foods (100-calorie packs, bagged lettuce, individual frozen meals).
- Make your own 100-calorie packs. Portion out 100 calories of nuts, dried fruit or whole grain cereal into snack bags.
- Take advantage of store reward cards.
- Buy frozen produce instead of fresh.
- Avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You are more likely to purchase more when feeling hungry.
- Scan weekly adds for store deals and coupons.
- Eat a vegetarian meal once a week. Substitute inexpensive vegetarian protein sources such as beans, eggs, tofu, and legumes for more expensive meat, fish, or poultry.
- Buy cheese from the dairy case instead of the meat counter.
- Try growing your own garden. Lettuce, bell peppers and tomatoes are typically more cost-effective vegetables to grow.
- Eat leftovers. Foods such as vegetarian chili and lasagna made with whole-wheat pasta make great, healthy leftovers.
- Avoid purchasing bottled water.
- Watch the cash register while your items are being rung up to ensure no errors are made.
- Choose foods on the top or bottom shelves. More expensive food items are typically placed at eye level.
- When possible go grocery shopping alone. Shopping alone will help you stay focused and avoid unnecessary purchases.
- Consider buying some foods at the dollar store such as spices and canned goods (beans, tuna).
- Stock up when items you regularly buy go on sale.
- To limit waste, follow the FIFO (First in First out) rule. Organize foods in your refrigerator and pantry so that foods purchased most recently are in the back while foods closer to their expiration date are in the front.
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