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  • Can You Afford to Eat Healthy?

  • August Cordeiro
    by Jeanette Nessett, RD, LDN
    Health Promotion Interventionist/ Lifespan's Working Healthy Program

    The good news is that it's possible to eat more nutritiously without breaking your food budget. It doesn't mean that you have to cook everything from scratch or that you can never eat out again.

    In the last 20 years we have experienced low to moderate increases in the basic prices of grocery staples. More recently these prices have risen quickly and furiously, especially for items such as milk, bread and eggs. Along with this trend we have seen the cost of more nutrient rich, unprocessed, fresh foods surge as well. The less healthy foods have been cheaper, and this has not been good news on the obesity front.

    In an effort to fill their grocery cart with more food, some people are making food purchases that provide more calories per dollar by choosing foods like pastries, candy, baked goods and fatty snacks. With a little bit of effort and planning, you can include more nutritious foods in your diet without suffering the high cost at the checkout counter.

    When you think about how our ancestors ate, regardless of ethnicity, they used foods that were much closer to the earth and therefore less processed. Families were generally larger, and with more mouths to feed they were quite creative at stretching their food dollars. Almost every culture has some healthy soup or stew recipe that provides more food for less money. These recipes usually utilize more vegetables and/or beans so that less meat is required. Look to your elder family members for some of their favorite recipes and you might be pleasantly surprised at how economical they are.

    More from Jeanette:

    Recipe: Irish Beef Stew

    Tips for Saving at the Supermarket

    Eating on the Cheap: Bean Cuisine