By Greta Breskin, MS, RD, Retail Dietitian at the ShopRite of New Rochelle
It’s a common myth that eating healthy will break the bank. But with a little planning, it is within your reach to eat a variety of healthy and inexpensive meals. Try the following tips to get started with eating better on a budget:
1) Stretch out expensive ingredients with casseroles, stews and stir-fries. Mixed dishes can stretch a more expensive ingredient like beef into many portions. For example, round roast is inexpensive and lean, and goes great in a stew or stir-fry – a much healthier and cheaper option than rib-eye steaks! Another mixed dish, the traditional tuna-noodle casserole, can be made into a healthy family meal by adding extra frozen peas, swapping whole wheat for the regular egg noodles and using nonfat milk.
2) Buy produce in season. Seasonal fresh produce is an affordable option. While there are less seasonal options available in the winter, butternut squash (pictured), acorn squash, and turnips can be found now at a low price. Items like carrots, dark green leafy vegetables and potatoes are generally inexpensive all year round. A bonus for carrots and potatoes is that you can buy them in bulk and they do not spoil as quickly as other types of fresh produce.
3) Use the supermarket circular. At ShopRite we have great deals on a variety of healthy items advertised in our circular each week. Sales are available on products from produce to yogurt and whole grain cereals and snacks. Additionally, nearly every week we have one brand of steam-in-bag frozen vegetables on sale for 99¢, which are convenient and nutritious!
4) Use leftovers in exciting ways. Don’t let those leftovers go to waste! “Double-duty dinners” can save money and time. For example, rice and beans can be used the next night to make stuffed peppers. Leftover roast chicken can be used in an entrée salad, casserole or chili. Get your creative juices flowing- the possibilities are endless!
These strategies can help you and your family eat healthy while sticking to your grocery budget. Cooking at home more often will also save you money on restaurants and take-out. And don’t forget that whole wheat bread, brown rice, and low-fat or nonfat dairy are no more expensive than the white and full-fat varieties. For more information, come see me at the ShopRite of New Rochelle or call me at 845-475-4940. Bon appétit!