NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Eating healthy and living on a budget don't always seem to go hand in hand. However, a Middle Tennessee dietician has some tips for bringing the two together.
As Americans begin to tighten their belts on spending, there's concern they may have to loosen them due to unhealthy eating. Is the economy making you fat?
Registered dietician Sarah-Jane Bedwell is talking to seniors about healthy eating on a budget as part of the Lifestyle Enrichment series sponsored by the Williamson county Parks and Recreation Department.
"Realizing some of things like eating healthfully save them, in the long run, a lot of money," says Bedwell.
Sarah-Jane's tips and demonstrations include tricks to use at the supermarket. Some tips include:
Make a list and plan your meals Many of us are already tired at the end of the day, thanks to a busy day at work or because our time has been spent taking care of children. When we're tired, the last thing we want to do, is throw together a well thought-out, balanced meal.
By planning ahead, Bedwell says you have more time to examine calorie content, fat grams, sodium, fiber, vitamins, etc.
"In addition to a plan, you also need some quick, easy, and delicious meals to make when you don't have much time," says Bedwell.
Plan your meals based on what is on sale The grovery store's weekly circular is a great place to start your meal plan. Buy the healthier items as they go on sale rather than paying full price.
Some stores, like Publix or Sam's Club, have demontrations of healthy meals made from discounted items. Planning your meals around items already discounted may save money and variety to your menu. Grocery Shopping 101
Use generic store brands versus brand names Generic or in-store brands can often be up to 20 percent cheaper.
Shop for fruits and vegetables at a Farmer's Market Local products tend to be more flavorful and cheaper. They may also be more fresh, meaning they should last longer on your kitchen counter than procude shipped from another country. Eat local - even in winter
Avoid foods branded as health foods Items in the health food section tend to be overpriced. Foods marked as "low" or "non fat" often make up for that with increased levels of sodium. Too much sodium can lead to water retention, or worse, high blood pressure. Low-fat Ingredient Substitutions
Keep food fresh and safe Avoid buying more fresh food than you can consume. Those grapes, strawberries or cantelope may be on sale, but if they sit around for too long in your kitchen they will go bad. The same applies to breads, milk, cheese, and other items with a "consume by" date.
Remember that bananas that have gone brown are great for banana bread. Baking with the kids can also be a cheap way to spend the evening. Baking with the kids: Banana Bread
Throwing food away because it has gone bad before it could be eaten is like throwing your money away.
Try a Meatless Monday Save your health and your wallet by going without meat for a meal. Spaghetti can be just as delicious without meat in the sauce.
"It's extremely important for seniors. I think if more seniors knew the health implications of their diet, they would avail themselves of all resources available," says Larry Drake, who attended one Bedwell's seminars.
For people on a strict budget, less-expensive and healthy meals can do more than save a few bucks.
"This information can really save somebody's life," says Bedwell.