NDSU Extension - Benson County

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Making Healthy Eating Affordable

By Kimberly Braulick, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Have you ever said to yourself or heard someone say, “It is too expensive to eat healthy,”?  While nutritious foods can be pricy, here are just a few tips to stretch your food dollar while getting the nutrients your body needs.

  1. Buy on sale and in season fruits and vegetables.  This will allow you to buy more fruits and vegetables, and still have money left over for your other grocery items.  When there are few fruits and vegetables in season, consider a frozen or canned option.
  2. Choose the generic or store brand.  While the box or bag may not be quite as beautiful, you are most likely saving money.  If you are unsure if they are the same product, compare the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list.
  3. Avoid buying single serving foods.  This may help with portion control, but it is extremely costly.  Instead, buy a larger size and make small portions yourself in reusable containers.  Remember to look at how long the product will last.  If you know you will use it all in time, go for the larger size if it is a better buy.  If you know you will end up throwing something away, buy the size that is most appropriate for your family.
  4. Finally, freeze any leftovers from your meal.  Mark them with the date and consume them within the next few months.  This will also allow for a quick, nutritious meal if you are in a rush.  It will also avoid food waste, which saves you money.

While it may seem expensive to buy healthy food, junk food is expensive too, and too much of it can cause you a variety of health problems.  Instead be conscious of incorporating healthy, wholesome foods from all five food groups throughout the day.  Below is a recipe for a Mexican salad.  It is an interesting mix of flavors for a nutritious summer treat.  Enjoy!

Mexican Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon or lime (the juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:  First, wash the cucumbers, oranges and lemon or lime under cold running water.  Next, slice the cucumbers. Peel and cut the oranges into small pieces.  Place cucumber slices and orange pieces in a medium size bowl.  Finally, add the chili powder, lemon or lime juice and salt.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 300 mg of sodium, 1 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. 

Sources:

  • Snap-Ed Connection Library, 2016
  • Oregon State University Cooperative Extension Service, 2000, Oregon Family Nutrition Program
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