Nutrition on a Budget

Posted on February 6th, 2019
I hear a lot of folks tell me that eating healthy just isn’t as cheap… and I’d have to argue that eating healthy can not only be affordable but can also cost equal or less than it’s not-so-healthy counterpart, if done right. Did you know, in 2008 obesity alone costed the US over 147 billion dollars in medical care? Talk about expensive!
Here are some of my own personal tips & tricks to saving a buck while still eating a healthy & balanced diet.
1. MEAL PLANNING – Do not pass go, do not collect $100 until you have done this. While meal planning can be cumbersome to begin with, once you have done it several times it will be a cinch (still having trouble? Let a Reasor’s Registered Dietitian meal plan for youWhat is the most important thing about meal planning? Sticking to it. Stick to your plan both at the grocery store AND when prepping meals at home. If you have a hard time sticking to your list at the store – try using our online shopping services (free for orders above $35) or Shipt to get those groceries delivered to your home.
2. BUY ON SALE – Yeah, plan for that big meat sale or that notorious 12 hour sale in the future. These are the days to stock up on those staple items you can use at home like cheese and lean proteins. My freezer is my best friend – you can freeze almost anything you catch on sale and extend the shelf life. Plus, having extras on hand in case something comes up (which it does!) you’ll be prepared. You can take advantage of sale items every week by checking out our weekly ad.
3. “CLIP” COUPONS – Ok, I don’t care if it makes me an old soul – I most definitely take advantage of coupons, because FREE money! You can also skip the ‘clipping’ part by joining the FREE Ibotta community where you can collect money off the things you buy at Reasor’s. 
4. BUY IN SEASON – This is especially important when we talk about fresh produce. Have a go-to fruit like strawberries you put in smoothies or parfaits? Grab them when are in season (& on sale) and freeze them for those times that they might be more expensive. Try swapping vegetables on your plate as the seasons vary. During the summer months enjoy all of those yummy greens, tomatoes, and squash – during winter go for the gourds and broccoli! Did you know some seafood is only fished during certain seasons?
5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REWARDS PROGRAMS- You don’t have a Reasor’s Rewards Card yet? Did I mention I have paid $0.86 per gallon of gas at QuickTrip just by swiping my Reasor’s rewards card before paying for my groceries and prescriptions. No worries, they won’t sell your information or hound you with emails or phone calls.
6. INCLUDE MORE PLANT BASED PROTEINS – I’m not saying cut out all of your meat based protein – unless that’s your thing…. I am just talking about cutting back on HOW MUCH meat you are cooking/consuming. An appropriate portion size is 4 oz. or the size of a deck of cards. Stick to the correct portion size or even pass on the meat at one meal and try cost effective nutrient dense protein alternatives like lentils, beans, and seeds instead. You could even try out Meatless Monday for size. Some of my favorites are 3 bean chili and sweet potato & black bean tacos! Thank ya Love and Lemons
7. REDUCE WASTE – I only cook for myself and husband alike to many households. Cooking for two or ten can be challenging – this is why it is important to know how much to buy and cook for your family size by resizing a recipe to fit your needs. Often times, I cut recipes in half or make the entire recipe and freeze half for a quick meal another night. Do you have trouble using fresh produce before it spoils? – try frozen or canned (or 2 quick trips to the grocery store for those perishables)! Even for bagged salad mixes I try to plan 2 meals out of 1 bag to get the most use and the least amount of waste possible!
8. FOCUS ON THE NUTRITIONAL BANG FOR YOUR BUCK – So, I’ll admit some of those healthier items can be more expensive – but what are you getting out of it nutritionally? I personally love to munch on pistachios to keep me full between meals. Pistachios can get a little pricey but it doesn’t take much to to fill me up and I’m left feeling satisfied until my next meal. Compared to some other snacks that I might need more of or end up feeling hangry in just a couple hours, I consider these foods calorie dense and nutrient empty. Moral of the story, Less is more when it comes to nutrient dense foods!

Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and ride her bike! Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and also covers the 101st & Elm location for all of your food & nutrition needs.
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitians’ opinions and recommendations are their own; they are not paid to endorse any products or services.