Eating Healthy at Home
Choosing to eat healthy can be expensive. It is often cheaper to purchase processed foods than healthier foods. However, there are many ways to eat healthier while still keeping to a budget.
Plan Ahead and Make a Food Budget
The following tips will help you plan and stick with your budget.
- Make a shopping list and stick with it. Using a list will help you to avoid impulse purchases, allowing you to stay within your budget and make healthy decisions.
- Shop around the outer isles. Outer aisles tend to contain fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats, while inner aisles contain more processed foods, snacks, sugary cereals and the like.
- Shop in season. Higher prices on fruits and vegetables often indicate that an item is out of season rather than meaning anything about its quality.
- Consider store brands. In many cases, store brands provide the same quality at a lower price than the equivalent name brand items.
- Consider co-op or food sharing programs. We’ve provided information about some of these programs in our Eating Healthy Resource Center.
- Check the store circulars for sales on foods that you eat often. When you find a sale, consider stocking up for future use. Many bulk items can be divided into smaller portions for storage and/or freezing.
Make Healthy Eating a Family Affair
- Plan menus as a family. Discuss the meal options and ways to make current family favorites healthier. For example, if you usually purchase regular spaghetti, consider a whole grain or pasta with added protein instead. Or, consider ways to cook food differently. Baked, broiled, or grilled food is better for you than fried food.
- Bypass individual serving packages of snack products. It may be cheaper to purchase a larger bag of snacks that you can divide at home. By dividing foods into single serving portions as a family, everyone becomes more aware of serving sizes.
- Be creative. Find foods that your family likes and explore ways to add vegetables and fruits into your diet. Try replacing candy with fruit or vegetables and adding vegetables to pasta sauces and pizzas.
- Add variety. Food variety means eating a wide range of foods from within and across each of the food groups. Eating many different foods helps maintain an interesting diet that provides adequate nutrition. Each week, encourage family members to choose a new healthy food to try. The food group resource has many ideas to get you started.