Eating Healthy on a Budget

woman shopping fresh produce in store

Making healthy food choices can be difficult. Since people with Type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, there is also the added pressure of juggling diet needs for two separate conditions.

These healthy choices can become more difficult to make when money is tight. Here are some tips to help you stick to your eating plan without breaking the bank: 

  • Eat lean or low-fat proteins, such as. 93% lean ground beef, pork loin, skinless chicken breasts and fish. Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, such as salmon and trout. Unsalted nuts and beans have a lot of protein also, but eat the right portions since nuts tend to be high in calories.
  • Enjoy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as satisfying, and typically just as healthy, as fresh produce. Just make sure to check the Nutrition Facts label to confirm that no extra sugar or salt was added.
  • Avoid eating out, as many restaurants serve extra-large portions that come with big price tags. And fast-food restaurants options are typically loaded with saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
  • Eat before you go shopping. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach will leave you more likely to buy on impulse.
  • Grow a garden! Not only will you save money on vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes, but you’ll be more physically active. 
  • Scout your local newspaper for coupons or download your grocery store’s app and look for online coupons before shopping. 
  • Shop for seasonal produce. Fruits and vegetables are less expensive during their peak growing times, and they’re also tastier!
  • Look for generic brands. The ingredients are usually similar to the brand-name versions, but they’re much more affordable. Compare the ingredients list and Nutrition Facts label to see for yourself.
  • Make your own pre-packaged snacks by buying a large container of raisins, unsalted nuts or popcorn (no saturated fat) and separating them into individual portions. By checking the nutrition facts on the food label, you can gauge how much to eat at one time based on the saturated fat, sodium and added sugar content. Remember to look for “hydrogenated oils” on the ingredients list to avoid trans fats (even if the package says “0g of trans fat”).
  • Plan your meals each week. By planning ahead, you can check the nutrition facts of a meal before you decide to make it and create a detailed grocery list for easy shopping. Planning also helps avoid impulse shopping. Learn how to prepare healthy meals for the whole family.