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4 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

As 2018 approaches, many are thinking of setting goals for the year ahead.

Nearly 45% of all Americans will make a New Year’s resolution, and “eating healthy” is one of the most popular goals people strive toward. The numerous benefits from eating healthfully include improved health, enhanced mood, increased productivity and boosted energy. But despite the appetite for eating more healthfully, many report they do not succeed in reaching this goal.

Research shows us that behavior change is difficult. One challenge often cited as a barrier to eating more healthfully is that healthy food costs too much. Just the perception that healthy foods cost more can thwart peoples’ efforts to make positive changes to their diets.  

Ultimately, eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. How can we eat more healthfully while watching our household budgets?

1. Learn 

Knowing what’s healthy isn’t always easy. Search online or visit a library for resources on healthy foods and recipes. Meet with a nutritionist during your next healthcare appointment. Build your skills by taking a class that focuses on cooking healthy on a budget.

2. Shop smart

Make a shopping list and stick to it. Look for items on sale, choose generic brands and use coupons.  Buy in bulk and focus on raw ingredients (like produce, lean proteins and whole grains) rather than prepared meals and snacks.

3. Cook with a plan

While meal planning takes time, the benefits pay off. Try cooking in batches, freezing meals and using that leftover chicken in a soup so nothing is wasted. 

4. Get help

Even with the best intentions, many need help to access healthy foods. Contact 2-1-1 to learn about food assistance (SNAP, WIC) and other programs (like housing assistance, job training, or child care) that can free up household resources.  Your local food bank can help with food today.

As the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, Feeding America strives to make good nutrition a reality for our neighbors in need. Our network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs provide nutritious foods to over 46 million people each year. We know our goal to end hunger in America can’t be achieved unless we provide the most nutritious food possible, while also helping to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.

Morgan Smith, RN, PHN, Manager, Interventions for Health and Feeding America, [email protected]

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