We all want to make sure we are eating the diet we need to live a healthy lifestyle – but as the cost of groceries continue to rise, it seems to be more and more difficult to do so.
Thankfully, Joanna Smyers, a registered dietician with Bon Secours St. Francis has some tips and tricks to ensure you can eat a healthy plate and a balanced diet without having to break the bank.
“Most people don’t realize that eating a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t have to be difficult – or expensive,” Joanna shares. “I recommend shopping your kitchen first. Plan your meals around what you already have on hand, that way you’re spending less money at the store and only buying what you need.”
Looking for items that are on sale and using coupons can help you save money, too. Many discounted items are at their peak level of freshness – meaning you’re still getting the same amount of nutrients and you’re saving money while doing so.
“If you can, avoid the grocery store and visit your local farmers market instead. This allows you to shop seasonally and steer clear of those grocery store prices,” Joanna explains. “But if you have to go to the grocery store, stick to shopping the outside perimeter. Avoiding the inner aisles will allow you to really hit the meat and produce departments, which saves you from spending any extra money.”
While shopping, make sure you’re adding those healthy staples, such as lean proteins and whole grains to your cart. Fruits and veggies are important, too – they not only provide needed vitamins and minerals, but they add extra texture and flavor to your meals.
Don’t skip out on the frozen and canned foods either. Not only can they be cheaper, but they are often just as healthy as they would be fresh.
“Don’t be intimidated by the generic brands either,” Joanna says. “Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter if you buy generic or name brand. One is just as nutritious as the other. Just make sure you check the labels of the generic brand to avoid any different ingredients or allergens that you may not be used to.”
To keep with a balanced diet, your plate should have a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. MyPlate is a great source of information to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients you need.
“Groceries may be expensive, but you can still eat a healthy meal at home and spend less than you would by eating out,” Joanna adds. “By planning meals and stretching your dollars, you don’t have to sacrifice your health.”
Learn more about the nutrition services offered at Bon Secours.