Healthy Eating on a Budget Eating value for your dollar Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget • Eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to cost a fortune. • In fact, you can eat delicious, healthy food and save money! • By following these tips, you will save money while enjoying all the taste that healthy food offers. Tip 1: Plan ahead • Plan meals for the next few days or weeks and write out a grocery list. • Not having a list can result in missed items, last-minute menu changes, and extra shopping trips. • This can cost you time, gas, and money. Tip 2: Base your weekly menu on Canada’s Food Guide • To be sure that your family is getting a wellbalanced diet, check your menu with Canada’s Food Guide recommendations. • Enjoy a variety of foods from the four food groups. • Pay attention to serving sizes. Tip 3: When it comes to meat, buy only what you need • When buying food, be sure you don’t allocate too much of your budget to meat products. • Three food guide servings of meat and alternatives per day is all a healthy male needs. Women need two food guide servings per day. • A serving is about the size of a deck of cards (90 g or 3 ounces). Tip 3: When it comes to meat, buy only what you need (continued) • Here are some meal ideas for reducing your meat budget: – vegetable beef stew with dumplings – chicken and vegetable stir-fry with rice – tomato and meat spaghetti sauce with pasta – chili with vegetables and kidney beans – ethnic dishes that are light on meat such as Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Spanish dishes Tip 4: Try using plant proteins • Beans, legumes, nuts, and peanut butter all contain protein. • These alternatives are much less expensive than meat, poultry, or fish. • Try corn tortillas and beans, vegetarian pizza, or a rice and bean casserole. Tip 5: Choose convenience foods carefully • Compare the time and effort spent cooking from scratch against the cost, food value, and taste of convenience foods. – It costs you more to have someone else do the prep work for you. – Think about which foods you will buy and which ones you can make for yourself, for example: • shredded cheese vs. block cheese • orange juice made from concentrate vs. frozen concentrated orange juice • chicken pieces vs. a whole chicken Tip 6: Buy in bulk • Buying in large quantities can save you money. • Make a list of your basic foods—pasta, potatoes, rice, flour, oatmeal, beans—and check out the savings. • You can save money by splitting large packages of food with other people. Tip 7: Compare and save • Check out flyers and, if possible, go to two different stores. • Try store brand products and compare the ingredients and nutrient content. • Try frozen or canned vegetables or fruit instead of fresh. These are usually just as nutritious as fresh produce. References • Dietitians of Canada. (1995). Eating Value for Your $. Fact sheet. www.dietitians.ca Adapted from Anneke Vink, 2007.