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10 Tips for Eating Well on a Budget

By Gwen Johnson - Sage Nutrition Tips - | Sep 7, 2023

Eating healthy does not mean you need to break the bank. You can still focus on your wellness goals and make healthy choices with the following cost-cutting tips!

1) Make a list- Planning ahead is key. When you go to the grocery store try to have a list of foods you need for the week and stick to it as best you can. Another idea is to consider ordering your groceries online for store pick up. This way you can remove possible impulse purchases from food displays at the grocery store.

2) Search for sales-Most stores send out sale flyers weekly full of sale items. Buy these sale items in bulk if you can and stock up your freezer or food pantry.

3) Go generic-Try swapping out name-brand products for generic which usually cost fifteen to twenty percent less and you likely won’t notice any difference in quality or flavor. Generic brands usually have the same nutritional content as name-brands.

4) Select in season- Plan your meals around what’s in season. For example, in the summer certain produce will be more readily available and cheaper as compared to other months of the year. Take advantage of those nutrient-rich berries at summer prices and freeze extras for smoothies or to add to your morning oatmeal or yogurt.

5) Focus on frozen- If your favorite seasonal produce is not available, try buying frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen alternatives can easily be used for many recipes and retain all of their nutritional value and flavor when they are frozen at their peak of freshness.

6) Consider canned- Canned protein sources can cost considerably less than fresh and have a very long shelf life. For example, canned tuna and salmon are significantly cheaper than buying fresh and still contain heart and brain healthy fats. Canned seafood items can be enjoyed simply for sandwiches or on top of salads.

7) Pick plant-based protein sources- Canned beans, nut butters and or dried lentils can be a cheaper alternative than animal products. Try making meatless meals including beans, edamame, or tofu one night a week which will not only help your wallet but will provide a great amount of protein.

8) Switch to spice blends-Buying seasonings that have a combination of different spices and or dried herbs will be less expensive than buying them separately. One that I always keep on hand is Italian seasoning which is a blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram and works well in many recipes.

9) Watch waste-Try to use highly perishable items right away like salad greens. Enjoy dinner leftovers for lunch meals or freeze leftovers in an airtight container. Most cooked food items can be safely stored in the freezer for up to three months.

10) Take advantage of cash back/membership incentives-Many stores offer members-only cash back bonuses for store brands or special coupons which can lead to big savings.

This plant-based, high fiber, high protein recipe includes both canned and frozen protein sources and is a cinch to make for a delicious and nutritious lunch or side dish. It is simply seasoned with a spice blend of Italian seasoning and overall is inexpensive to make.

5 Minute Chickpea & Edamame Salad

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1- 15oz can reduced sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed

¾ cup of carrots, shredded

½ cup red pepper, finely diced

¼ cup of low sugar craisins

3 TBSP. olive oil

3 TBSP. red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

… tsp. ground cumin

1 TBSP. dried Italian seasoning

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Instructions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the rinsed chickpeas, thawed edamame, red pepper, carrots and craisins. In a small bowl whisk together the minced garlic, oil, vinegar and seasonings. Pour over the salad and mix well to combine all. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving for best flavor. Enjoy!

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