Simple, Budget-Friendly Ways to Eat Well
By Shannon Crocker, MSc RD PHEc
Don’t let food costs hold you back from your health goals this year. Simple strategies are the key to sustainable success. Here are 5 dietitian-approved strategies to help you eat delicious and nourishing food all year long with budget in mind.
1. Shop at Home
Start with a basic meal plan for the week then shop your fridge and pantry for ingredients before heading to the grocery store. That way you won’t buy food you don’t need.
You never know what may be sitting at the back of your pantry! Do you have whole grain pasta to make a healthy one-pot turkey meal? Canned tomatoes to make a simple and scrumptious turkey tortilla soup?
Neat to Know Nutrition Tip: Pairing vitamin C containing veggies like bell pepper with lean turkey in these Mediterranean Turkey Nourish Bowls helps boost the amount of iron your body absorbs from the turkey. Prep them the night before in reusable containers for an easy grab and go lunch!
2. Make Meals Go Further
Make the most of your favourite ground turkey recipes by adding budget buddies like dried or canned beans or lentils or diced mushrooms to make them go further. Bonus? It adds a boost of fibre to your meal too.
Try it for yourself in these Turkey and Black Bean Tacos or this Smokey Turkey and Lentil Chili.
Neat to Know Nutrition Tip: Better together! When you mix and match animal and plant proteins, you maximize nutrition; each protein offers unique benefits. Legumes – like lentils and black beans – offer quality carbohydrates and gut-friendly fibre, while turkey is a complete protein with vitamin B12 and easily absorbable zinc. Together, they create a heart-health and brain-healthy combo.
3. Love Your Leftovers
Wasted leftovers equal wasted money. Plus, using leftovers to create another meal is a huge time-saving strategy. Before I package leftovers to put them in the fridge, I make sure to have a plan for how to use them up. For example, I love to reinvent leftover turkey into quesadillas, a satisfying salad or flatbread.
Want to keep it quick and easy? Find inspiration in this One-Pot Turkey Veggie Pasta that shares 4 ways to use leftover turkey.
Neat to Know Nutrition Tip: Leftovers can keep for up to three days and make terrific lunches. Add leftover turkey breast to this Mediterranean Inspired Lunch Box. Contrary to that old myth, tryptophan in turkey doesn’t make you sleep – there’s just not enough of it in a serving of turkey. In fact, the lean protein in turkey will help to keep you energized longer.
4.Go for the Value Pack
Value packs of meat and eggs aren’t just for feeding a crowd. These larger packs offer some savings per unit serving. Buy large packs of turkey breasts or thighs and divide portions into freezer-safe bags – it’s a great way to economize.
Neat to Know Nutrition Tip: Both eggs and turkey contain some vitamin D for better bone health. Try this value pack combo of eggs and diced turkey breast in these Grab and Go Turkey Muffins.
5. Hit Up the Produce Reduced Rack
I’ve saved the best ‘till last! For optimal health, it’s recommended that you fill half your plate with veggies and fruit. Reduced-price produce helps keep that portion of your plate more affordable. I recently got six apples for $1.00, and two heads of broccoli for $2.50! Buying less-than-perfect produce can help you save money and helps to reduce grocery store waste too.
Neat to Know Nutrition Tip: Eating protein at breakfast helps you to stay energized and satisfied longer than a carbohydrate-focused breakfast. Try this Hearty Turkey and Lentil Breakfast Bowl to rev up a weekend morning. Bonus? It’s a great way to use those perfectly imperfect zucchinis or peppers in the crisper.
These tips, along with strategies like, utilizing flyer apps, and cooking at home more often, will help you to be budget-friendly while eating well.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 2023,