Fitness & Nutrition

Eating Healthy On A Dime

March 7, 2024

Finances are a huge source of stress in our current climate. The cost of food is on the rise and it isn’t coinciding with an uptick in income. That leaves many families facing financial struggle, some more severe than others, and perhaps even scrounging to put food on the table.

At a time when we know that good nutrition is attributed to better mental, physical and emotional health, the question becomes whether or not we can ensure families with already rising stress levels can meet their basic needs and feel the benefits of eating healthy as well.

Eating healthy on a dime might be easier than you think

For families who are struggling to afford groceries with the rising costs of food, supplying healthy, fresh meals may seem impossible. However, you may be surprised to learn that eating healthier might be easier (and cheaper) than you think! Here are some helpful tips to try the next time you go grocery shopping:

Do your weekly meal planning before going shopping

Take the time to sit down and plan your family’s meals (and make a list!) before going to the grocery store. This is a helpful tactic because you may be able to build in a night to reuse leftovers, use a certain item more than once or take advantage of all of the great budget recipe ideas on the internet. You can also plan kids’ lunches at this time and even breakfasts so you know exactly what you will need to last your family the entire week.

Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store

If you want to save a ton of money on food, stay away from the pre-packaged aisles. Unless you are buying things like dried beans, grains, or other whole dried foods you may need, see if you can stick to the outer limits of the store, which usually contain the produce, meat and dairy sections. Adding in a trip to the frozen aisle as well means you can also load up on frozen fruits and vegetables. Not only will this reflect a savings on your bill, but you will also notice your family consuming way less junk food, a great way to boost your mental health during any stressful time!

Choose inexpensive protein options

Eating meat has become more and more expensive, but that’s okay because choosing a few meatless meals a week (or more) is a great way to save money and boost your health. Inexpensive, meatless protein sources include eggs, cheese, tofu, beans, nuts and legumes such as lentils. When you do consume meat with your family, try to get the cheaper cuts of meat, such as chicken thighs instead of breasts. You can also combine meatless options with meat to make them stretch a bit further. For instance, if your family loves tacos, make them with a ½ ground beef and ½ black bean mixture.

If you are one of the many Hancock County residents who is struggling with severe financial stress and can’t put food on the table, you are not alone. There are plenty of resources to help you and your family get the nutrition you need and more. Check out these resources and share them with those who you think could use support:

Eating healthy isn’t just for those who can afford it and, quite honestly, none of us can afford to go without the proper nutrition. If you are going through a stressful time financially, eating healthy, combined with other healthy lifestyle choices, might just be the ticket to keeping yourself in a better place emotionally, mentally, and physically.

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