By Janet Fontana
Healthy Eating on a Budget September 2011
Dear Fellow Nurse,
Not surprisingly, eating a healthier diet can come with a higher price tag. Researchers at the University of Washington looked at the economic impact of following the new U.S. dietary guidelines, which recommend eating more potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium, and avoiding saturated fat and added sugar. They discovered that eating according to the new guidelines adds cost to the average American’s food bill. Getting more calories from saturated fats and sugar was found to reduce food costs.
It’s unfair to tell patients who are struggling to make ends meet that they should eat healthier without teaching them how to make it affordable. They need help to learn which healthy foods are the best dollar value and how to make their food budget go further.
As nurses, we can educate ourselves and others about low cost, nutritious foods and help people find creative ways to maximize savings and minimize waste. We hope you will pass along the money saving tips and resources in this newsletter to help people eat healthy at a reasonable cost.
Janet Fontana, RN, MA
A healthy choice that can save you money is to eat less meat. Replace meat with less expensive complete proteins such as dairy, eggs, soy (tofu and edamame) and whole grains such as amaranth and quinoa.
Beans are your friend! According to Tricia Silverman, RD, beans are an economical, low-fat, nutritious source of protein and fiber. Look for canned beans on sale or purchase dried beans in bulk. There are over 20 varieties of beans – try a new bean recipe each week.
Healthy Tip: Be sure to rinse canned beans to reduce sodium by 36%.
Harvest the Savings
For greater savings, flavor and nutritional value, plan meals and snacks around fruits and vegetables that are at their peak season. In the fall, we reap the health benefits of fruits, such as apples, pears, and grapes as well as antioxidant packed vegetables in the cruciferous (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), greens (chard, kale, lettuce) and root (beets, carrots, potatoes) families. See more.
Combine your choice of fall vegetables to create a delicious, nutritious soup. Freeze the leftovers to enjoy later.
Healthy Savings Tip: Purchase long-lasting produce to minimize waste and to keep fresh fruits and vegetables available throughout the week.
Hunger Action Month
According to the USDA, more than 16 million children are living in food-insecure households. School lunch programs do help, but they do not solve the whole problem.
FeedingAmerica, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, uses their buying power to acquire and ship healthy foods at discounted rates. They encourage donors to make a financial donation to your local food bank.
Need Nursing CE Credit?
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Recipes under $3 per serving: EatingWell
7-day sample menu: USDA site with suggested meals at below average costs
Money saving coupons online: CouponMom
15 Nutritious Foods for About $2: WebMD article
Nursing CE webinar, “Healthy Eating for Less”: Filled with money saving tips from menu planning to meal preparation, Tricia Silverman, RD teaches you how to help people reduce food costs without compromising nutrition.