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Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Posted on November 10, 2015

Processed foods are unhealthy.  This is especially true for people with chronic health problems.  Unfortunately, knowing that a food is not healthy is not enough.  Often, patients know what foods they should eat, but they may not be able to afford them.  Healthy eating can be expensive, so making the most of a limited food budget is important.  Most families want to eat healthy foods.  However, for many families, cost is a main reason for not eating healthily. 

Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget:

  • Watch for sales and plan your meals around them.
  • Stock up on items when they are on sale.
  • Do not buy more than you will use – even if it is on sale.
  • Plan meals ahead of time to reduce waste.
  • Purchase cheaper cuts of meat and use a crockpot to make them more tender.
  • Beans can be used to bulk up a meal and are generally inexpensive.
  • Keep your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator organized so you know what foods are available.
  • Limit the number of meals you eat out each week.

Many patients with diabetes struggle to control their blood sugar because they do not eat the right foods.  This is sometimes because cheaper foods are full of carbohydrates.  Websites boast healthy, cheap meals, but they often include brown rice, whole grain pastas or breads, or dairy products.  While these are healthy foods, they still contain a large amount of carbohydrates per serving.  Patients cannot afford to purchase fresh vegetables so they do not eat them.  An ideal meal can be visualized on a plate.  Fill ¼ with meat or protein, ¼ with a starch, and ½ with vegetables.  Also try to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes or carrots.

Another challenge for patients is fresh foods spoil quickly.  Processed foods are not only cheaper, but they also last longer, so the food spoiling is less of a concern.  Canned vegetables are much cheaper; however, these products are often high in sodium, which can cause other health complications.  Because of this, frozen vegetables are the best option.  Also, because frozen vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness, they may be more nutritious too.

Healthy eating on a budget can be challenging, but by planning ahead and being creative, a healthy diet is within reach.


  1. IT’S DINNERTIME.  No Kid Hungry.  Available at:  Accessed October 6, 2015.
  2. 10 Smart Tips for Eating Healthy on a Super Tight Budget.  The Kitchn.  Available at:  Accessed October 6, 2015. 
  3. My Top 10 Tips for Creating a Grocery Budget (and Sticking to It).  The Kitchn.  Available at:  Accessed October 6, 2015.
  4. Tight Food Budget Can Wreak Havoc on Diabetes Management.  Health Day.  Available at:  Accessed October 6, 2015.


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