Eating Healthy Ideas for people on a Tight Budget

Eating healthy on a tight budget should not be expensive, and budgeting and careful planning can help save money and enjoy a balanced menu at the same time.

High-Nutrient Foods

Choose nutrient-dense foods that are healthy and low in cost. Such foods are, for example, legumes, garlic, potatoes, eggs, lentils, and brown rice. Brown rice costs about $2 per kg and is packed with minerals and vitamins such as manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Eggs are also inexpensive and contain healthy protein and essential vitamins such as vitamin E, D, C, and A. Potatoes cost about $0.50 per kg which makes them a cheap source of a host of nutrients, including potassium, iron, fiber, and vitamin C. You can always combine high-nutrient, low-cost foods to prepare a healthy meal. Examples are lentil stew, black beans and rice, rice with vegetables, and scrambled eggs and toast.

There are plenty of cheap fruits and vegetables to include in your menu. The list includes carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, oranges, apples, bananas, and dark-green leafy vegetables.

Planning Meals

It is important to plan your meals to include inexpensive staples and eat healthy. Look for cheap meals and plan your menu for the next week or month. You can even make a list of cheap meals that cost about a dollar or so per serving. Include ideas for lunch, dinner, breakfast, and snacks. This is also a good way to create a grocery list and avoid buying items that you don’t need. You may also divide your grocery list into two categories – essential and optional. Buy essential items first and then decide if you can afford to buy optional items or will go over budget.

Items to Stockpile

Building a stock of staples is also a good way to save money on a tight budget. Of course, how much you need depends on where you live, i.e. whether there are plenty of grocery stores close to your home or you live in a rural area or isolated community. It also depends on whether you have a large family or live alone. When stockpiling, think of whether you have enough storage space. Examples of grocery items to stockpile include things like frozen and canned vegetables, rice, beans, nuts and trail mix, oatmeal, and pasta. Herbs and spices, seasonings, and condiments also have a long shelf life. Other items to include in your stockpile are yeast, flour, cereal, and peanut butter. Some foods can be expensive, and it pays to shop around and stockpile whenever you find a good deal.

Preparing large meals is also a good way to save money. You can always use the leftovers to prepare other meals. If you have pasta, for example, you can make pasta stir fry, spaghetti frittata, curried noodle patties, or crisp-fried pasta with tomatoes, goat cheese, and eggs.

Coupons, Discounts, and Price Matching

Using coupons is one way to buy healthy foods on a tight budget. Many Canadian retail stores offer printable coupons for items such as yogurt, pasta sauce, cheese, cereal. You may also ask about discounted items in the grocery stores in your area. Some stores also offer discount or loyalty cards. Finally, it pays to compare prices in different grocery stores to see which one has the lowest prices. Some chains also price match, including No Frills, Walmart, and Loblaws. Where you do your grocery shopping also depends on location. The further away from your home or work it is, the more you will spend on gas.

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Eating Healthy – New Canadian Guidelines

The new Canadian guidelines to eating healthy offer advice on recommended servings per day for adults, teens, and children. The guidelines are intended for healthcare professionals, policy makers, and anyone interested in healthy eating.

History

The first food rules were introduced in 1942 and focused on foods such as eggs, fish, meat, breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit, and milk. The rules were introduced in response to surveys that helped identify problems such as malnutrition, poverty and lack of money for food, and poor access to food products. The guidelines have been modified multiple times since then but the main goal is to encourage Canadians to eat a balanced diet.

Benefits of Eating Healthy

The new guidelines place an emphasis on the fact that a balanced diet offers multiple benefits such as strong bones and muscles, more energy, normal body weight, and lower risk of developing diseases.

Guidelines on Recommended Servings

Children aged 2 – 3 years should have 2 – 3 servings of vegetables and fruit a day while children aged 4 – 8 should have 5. The recommended servings for female teens are 7 and 8 for males. For adults, the servings are 7 – 8 for women and 8 – 10 for men. There are also guidelines on the number of servings of meat and alternatives, milk and alternatives, and grain products.

Serving Size

When it comes to serving size, half a cup of canned, frozen, or fresh vegetables counts as one serving. The following foods also count as one serving: 1 slice of bread, 2 eggs, 1 cup of powdered milk or milk, and half a cup of cooked quinoa, bulgur, or rice. Fats and oils should be consumed in small amounts only. The recommended daily amount is 2 – 3 tablespoons. Whole grain products should make at least 50 percent of the grain products consumed each day. It is best to choose 2 percent, 1 percent, or skimmed milk, all of which contain vitamin D. When preparing meat, it is best to use healthy cooking methods such as poaching, baking, and roasting. Good alternatives to meat include products such as tofu, lentils, and beans. Fish should be consumed at least twice a week. Canadians are advised to eat fish such as trout, sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring, and char.

Foods to Avoid

Finally, it is important to read the labels carefully and choose products that are low in simple carbohydrates, trans fat, saturated fat, and fat. It is also best to avoid high-calorie products such as potato chips, French fries, candies and chocolate, energy drinks, and soft and flavored drinks.

Recipes

The new guidelines also include recipes for snacks, dinner, lunch, and breakfast. Featured breakfast ideas are apple pie oatmeal, egg and veggie scramble, broccoli cheese muffins, and others. The list of lunch and dinner ideas includes tasty meals such as chicken noodle soup, carrot ginger lentil soup, and quinoa and veggie casserole. There are also recipes for healthy snacks, for example, apple berry crisp, crispy chickpeas, and pear and cheese scones. See here The guidelines also include healthy eating recommendations such as planning meals, cooking often, and using products that are low in sugar and sodium. A balanced menu includes a combination of protein-rich foods, whole grain foods, and fruits and vegetables.