Fruits and Veggies on a Budget
Have you ever said or thought, “I need to eat more vegetables”or, “eating healthy is too expensive” or, ”I like fruit, but I am not eating enough daily” or, “I can’t afford to feed my family healthy foods.” ?
If you answered YES to any of these, keep reading.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supports that “eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods.”
Furthermore, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children should consume five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables per day while adults should aim to eat between five and 13 servings per day. More specifically, the most appropriate for each individual’s intake is based on sex, activity levels, weight and height and normal daily caloric intake. However, based on a 2007-2010 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute of usual vegetable and fruit intake of 18,117 persons 1 year of age and older, of those researched “76% did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87% did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.”
So why is this? Surprisingly, this is essentially universal knowledge, but many argue that eating a balanced diet with vegetables and fruits is too costly in today’s time. Well, I am here to help debunk this false-truth in order to help you and your family overcome this costly obstacle so that you can be well on your way to an improved, healthy diet.
STEP ONE: PLAN AHEAD
Decide what meals to prepare each day.
Choose meals that the whole family will enjoy with vegetables and fruits at the center of your meal planning. Then add whole grains and lean protein.
Make a list.
This helps stick with a budget and avoid straying too far from what you need versus things you might be tempted by while shopping.
Local fruit stands and farmer’s markets can be just as affordable as your discount grocery stores. Highlight your key shopping places to save money where you can while also getting the most nutritious option available.
STEP TWO: SHOPPING
Buy in season.
Now-a-days, we have access to many fruits and vegetables year-round, but some are less costly when they are in season.
Buy in bulk.
You can always join a wholesale supermarket that aims to sell less for more or when you catch things on sale, simply buy more to store away for later.
Aim for nutrient-dense foods.
Arguably, a peach pie contains peaches and is more nutrient dense than its white cake counterpart. However, a whole peach is the obviously healthier option. Limit you and your family to one or two “treats” per week.
Shop fresh, frozen and canned.
Fresh is always recommended, however, if you want to store these healthy alternatives for later, simply look in the frozen or canned food section of your grocery store.
STEP THREE: PREPARE FOR NOW AND STORE FOR LATER
Preparation is key.
Part of the reason you are eating vegetables and fruits is for nutrients, so make sure you do not takeaway its value. Try baking, sauteeing, steaming or simply eat it raw to get the most bang for your buck!
Prep more for leftovers.
Cravings can be your arch-nemesis when it comes to making healthy food choices. So, cut up those fruits and cook those vegetables and store them as leftovers for later in your day or week.
Store for later.
Fruits and vegetables do expire, but most can be stored for later consumption. Check out tips on how to store your favorites at Fruits & Veggies More Matters.
– Casey Edmonds, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey