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Budget-Wise Healthy Eating

posted Oct 17, 2019, 6:39 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT   [ updated Oct 17, 2019, 12:09 PM ]
By:  Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, LDN, E-RYT

Do you sometimes feel like you struggle to eat healthy during a hectic work schedule, due to lack of time? Or do you feel that eating healthy meals on a consistent basis is just too expensive? 

Dining out and fast food tend to appeal to many people who are juggling work and family for both reasons: convenience and cost. Fast food deals are cheap, quick and make people feel like they’re saving money but, in the long term, can be expensive and lead to chronic health conditions.  These will cost you more than you bargained for!  According to a report by the USDA, in 2018, consumers spent 50 percent more on eating out than in 2009.

The aim of this blog is not to convince you to make everything homemade in your already-busy lifestyle. Rather, the purpose is to help you find creative ways to eat healthier on a budget, whether you’re eating out or cooking at home.

Here are the top 5 steps you can take for cost-saving healthy eating:

1) Use leftovers and stock your refrigerator with healthy inexpensive staples: Audit your pantry and your refrigerator and make a grocery list, this prevents you from overbuying. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with pre-washed leafy greens and pre-cut vegetables so that you will use them versus tossing them out later in the week due to spoilage.  Also have on hand whole grain breads, brown rice, and beans which are very inexpensive and nutritious.  Buy quinoa and lentils which cook in 15 minutes and are packed with nutrients. 
         Make meals that can be reused in other recipes. Make baked chicken for dinner and make chicken salad with the leftover chicken.

2) Use Coupons: Don't throw out that flyer in your mailbox or newspaper, you could be throwing out cash.  Often times local grocery stores will mail out coupons or have inserts in the newspaper.            Many stores also have "cost saving cards" you can sign up for to save on your purchases.  

3) Dining out savings: Ask for water and skip the appetizers, this not only saves money but it saves calories. Half it and have it.  Ask for a "to go box" ahead of time and put half the large portion sizes the restaurants serve you in the "to go box" and have for lunch the next day.

4) Use canned and frozen vegetables:  If you feel like, at the end of the week, your fresh vegetables have rotted, then frozen and canned vegetables and fruits are fine to use. Make sure to buy the ones with no added sugar or sodium.  These are inexpensive and have a longer shelf life.  These canned and frozen vegetables can be tossed into  pastas or rice dishes to make them more nutritious.

5) Pack your lunch:  Going out to eat can add up.  $7 to $10 dollars is the average cost to eat out at lunch.  When you do the math, this can be up to $80 dollars a month just at lunch time.  Then add dinner to the mix, and you could be spending $160.00 a month just on eating out.

6) Safe at your IL Creations café Happy Hour:  At most IL Creations café  all hot buffet items are half-priced.  Take advantage of having a late lunch so that you can work out after work
Eating on a budget takes discipline but can be achieved.  Saving money on dining out can be very rewarding for your health and your finances.   

For more ways to eat well on a budget, check out resources on the and stop by and talk to ILCreations’ Dietitians at select ILC cafes.