Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring
Eating for your health and your budget
Eating to control your blood glucose can seem difficult when you are on a tight budget. The good news is that healthy foods do not need to cost a fortune. First, decide how much money you have to spend on food. Taking time to plan and shop wisely allows you to make the most of your food dollar. To avoid wasting food and money, eat, freeze or preserve the food before it is too old.
Meal planning can save money and help you buy healthy foods for yourself and your family. Before you go shopping, plan your meals and snacks for the next week.
- Plan for three meals at regular times each day to help control your blood glucose. Balance your meals by having carbohydrate, protein and small amounts of fat.
- If you need them, schedule healthy snacks.
- Check out store flyers and plan your meals using sale items. Collect coupons for products you will use.
- Think about what you can make yourself, since ready-to-eat foods usually cost more.
- Avoid waste by planning to use leftovers for another meal. Instead of spending money on restaurant meals, you can also freeze and reheat leftovers on busy days.
Make a grocery list
Go to the grocery store armed with a list of the foods you will need for the next week. Following the list helps you avoid buying extra foods that you do not really need.
- Keep a list on your fridge. Jot down items as they run low.
- Check the fridge and cupboards to see what you have.
- Use your meal plan to make your list.
- Write your list according to the layout of the store.
- Remember your list – tuck it in your wallet or store it on your phone.
- Make time to grocery shop. You will do a better job of comparing prices when you are less rushed.
- Do not shop when you are hungry or tired. Items look much more appealing when you are really hungry.
- Spend less on high-calorie items like pop, chips, cookies and candies. They add to your food bill, provide little nutritional value, and may also raise your blood glucose.
- Buy store brands. They are often less expensive than brand names.
- Use the unit price shown on the shelf tags to compare the price of different sized packages. Larger packages may be a better deal, although you will only save money if you use, freeze or preserve the food before it spoils.
- Plan to use products before they expire. Always check the ‘best before’ dates.
Try different protein sources
- Choose meat alternatives more often. These include peanut butter, eggs, beans, chickpeas and lentils. They cost less than some other protein foods.
- Choose a variety of meat, fish and poultry. You will save money if you keep portions in line with what is recommended in Canada’s Food Guide.
- Learn how to cook less expensive cuts of meat so that they become tender. Try marinating, braising, stewing or using a slow cooker.
- Use canned fish in sandwiches, chowders or a salad.
- Check store flyers for sales.
Load up on veggies and fruit
- Veg out! Most vegetables are low in carbohydrates and do not affect your blood glucose.
- Save money by using fresh vegetables and fruit when they are in season. If they are out of season, choose frozen or canned versions instead.
- Plan how much fresh produce you will need and be able to use before it spoils. If you have too much, wash and freeze the extra to put into stew, soup or a casserole later. Berries and fruit can be frozen and used in baking and smoothies.
- Compare the price between fresh, frozen and canned. They are all good choices.
Store your food wisely
Storing your groceries properly allows your food to stay fresh and safe to eat. You do not save money by throwing food in the garbage. For instance, store your apples in the fridge. They soften ten times faster at room temperature. For tips on storing fruits and vegetables, check the fruits and veggies section at halfyourplate.ca.
Preparing food to use later
If you buy food in bulk, or have more on hand than you can eat, prepare it for the freezer to use in the future.
- Wash and freeze berries and fruit for use in baking and smoothies. Yogurt can be frozen and used this way too.
- Wash and freeze vegetables to put in stew, soup and casseroles. Use them to provide quick and healthy additions to your meals.
- After opening a package of cheese, cut into sections and freeze. The cheese will be crumbly when thawed, but can be used wherever melted cheese is needed.
There is no easy solution for lowering your grocery bill. Like anything else in life, it takes a little planning, creativity and work. The rewards of better health and saving money are worth the effort.
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6 [DI_MDss16]