Eating Healthy on a Budget

Getting the most nutrition for your food budget starts with a little extra planning before you shop. There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have some budget-friendly tips for eating right.

Plan what you’re going to eat. Before you head for the grocery store, plan your meals and snacks for the week. Review recipes for what ingredients are needed. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy extra items that are not on it.

Decide how much to make. Making a large batch by doubling a recipe will save time in the kitchen later on. Extra portions can be used for lunches or meals later in the week, or freeze leftovers in individual containers for future use. Plus, foods purchased in bulk are almost always cheaper.

Shop for foods that are in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to get and may be a lot less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is also a great source of seasonal produce. Just remember that some fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last long. Buy small amounts at a time to avoid having to throw away spoiled produce.

Try canned or frozen produce. At certain times of the year, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables may be less expensive than fresh. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.

Cook more, eat out less. Many foods prepared at home are cheaper and more nutritious. Also, convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant rice or oatmeal will cost you more than if you make them from scratch. Go back to basics and find a few simple and healthy recipes that your family enjoys.

Watch portion sizes. Eating too much of even lower cost foods and beverages can add up to extra dollars and calories. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses to help keep portions under control. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with whole grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. This is an easy way to eat a balanced meal while controlling portions and cost. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert.

Make your own healthy snacks. Convenience costs money, so many snacks, even healthy ones, usually cost more when sold individually. Make your own snacks by purchasing large tubs of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and dividing them into one cup containers. For trail mix, combine nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or cereal; store small portions in airtight containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less compared to prepackaged items.

Healthy Recipe Ideas

Looking for some fresh new ideas to jumpstart your healthy meal planning? Check out these resources for some new recipes to help you eat more fruits and veggies.

Get Healthy Recipes

Flavors of the Heart Cookbook

More Matters Recipes

Fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced and healthy eating plan. Helping control your weight is not the only benefit of eating more fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. The more you can incorporate them into your cooking, the easier it will be to eat them. You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories. And you will leave feeling full after your meal!

Put Your best fork forward

The Get Healthy team is encouraging everyone to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” for National Nutrition Month.  The annual observance was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and serves as a reminder that every bite counts. In addition to inspiring everyone to take small steps to improve their healthy eating habits – one forkful at a time – this month is also a time to encourage people to incorporate more physical activities into their daily routines. For moderately active adults, the recommended daily amount of fruit is 2 cups each day and 2 ½ half cups of vegetables. This is a great time to download many of our resources to help you develop healthier eating habits and eat the recommended of fruits and veggies.  We have several free nutrition related mobile apps and resources to make eating healthier fun and easier.

Half My Plate mobile app helps you eat a healthy diet and track how many servings of fruit and vegetables you are consuming each day.

SNAP Cooking app to allows users to search for healthy recipes based on ingredients or by recipe name. Users can also bookmark their favorites and create a shopping list. Those using federal SNAP benefits can use a feature that enables them to enter their ZIP code to locate SNAP retailers in their area.

Sugar Savvy Beverage app tells users how much sugar is in the beverages they are consuming.

The Nutrition Challenge is a free 8-week online program will help you increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat each day.

And don’t forget about our mobile apps that promote being active. Check out the Walk Around Nevada and Neon to Nature and get moving in our great city! Download free from iTunes and Google Play.

10 ways to eat more fruits and veggies!

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day:

1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.

2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.

3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.

4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.

5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.

6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.

7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.

8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.

9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.

10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

Save time and money at the grocery store

It is National Nutrition Month and we want to focus on the ways we can all eat healthier. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. And the grocery store is a great place to start. There is more variety on today’s grocery store shelves than ever before. With so many choices, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Make shopping easier by following these 10 guidelines:

Don’t shop when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to make impulse purchases on less nutritious items that cost more.
Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you keep a running list at home of items that need to be replaced, you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
Organize your list into sections according to the layout of the supermarket. This cuts down on time and the number of passes you need to make through the aisles.
Check for supermarket specials. These are printed in the newspaper or online. Plan your shopping trip around what’s on sale.

If you are a single-person household, there are special ways to maximize your food dollars at the grocery store.

Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. This gives you the ability to take out the portions you need and buy these staples in bulk without worry about spoilage.
Look for foods sold in single servings. You’ll find juice, yogurt, frozen meals, soup and pudding.
Shop from bulk bins. You can buy smaller amounts, and reduce food waste.
Talk to the butchers. Ask them, or the produce managers, for a smaller amount of prepackaged items.
Buy produce that keeps longer in the refrigerator. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and carrots.
Buy small loaves of bread. Then, wrap and freeze bread you won’t use right away.