Nutrition

Heart Healthy Eating on a Budget

Last updated: Jan 31, 2014


 

According to the American Heart Association, eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and includes whole grains, fruit, and vegetables is one of the best ways to prevent high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.1

If you work and/or are a parent on the move, fast and prepared foods that are readily available and often low in cost, can tempt you to make the wrong choices. But with a planning and helpful tips to guide you, it's possible to eat healthy foods and have a reasonable grocery bill.

Try these heart-healthy, budget-conscious nutrition tips:

  • Perfect your plan with USDA healthy-eating-on-a-budget recommendations2
    • Establish your weekly and monthly food budget
    • Create weekly menus
    • Develop a grocery list before shopping
    • Eat a healthy snack before grocery shopping to avoid impulse buying
    • Check for weekly newspaper specials
    • Search online for coupons
    • Patronize discount grocery stores
    • Ask your grocer for a loyalty card
  • Choose frozen instead of fresh foods
    • Buy frozen fruit and vegetables without added sugar, sauces, or sodium, which often are less expensive than fresh produce
    • Unless you’re buying fresh produce in season in your area, frozen foods retain more vitamins and are as nutritious as fresh produce3
    • Include at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet for overall heart health
       
  • Compare per-pound produce prices
    • Compared with fresh apples, canned fruit such as pineapple in its own juice can be among the least expensive fruit in the grocery store 
    • Buy only produce in season in your area to avoid high-priced nonseasonal fruits and vegetables
       
  • Make meatless meals
    • Replace animal sources of protein with high-fiber, no-fat, no-cholesterol dried beans and peas (legumes) such as chickpeas, black beans, or lentils
    • Dried beans that require soaking overnight are naturally low in sodium and inexpensive
      • Rinse canned beans under cool running water to remove 1/3 of the sodium content for heart-healthy lentil stew, spaghetti sauce with black beans, or burritos with pinto beans
  • Choose canned seafood
    • Canned tuna packed in water and canned salmon are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce risk of heart disease
      • Canned seafood is delicious in casseroles, on sandwiches, and in salads
         
  • Buy in bulk
    • Large containers of fat-free yogurt are less expensive than individually packed servings
    • A large container of unflavored oatmeal is less expensive than indivually packed oatmeal servings; add fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and a dollop of fat-free yogurt for flavor
    • Washing and chopping carrots and celery is less expensive than buying ready-to-eat raw vegetables
    • Making your own, healthy trail mix with unsalted nuts, dried unsweetened fruit, and whole grain cereal is less expensive than buying indivually packaged, ready made trail mix
       
  • Choose healthy canned and frozen vegetables and fruit
    • Buy unsalted canned vegetables
    • Buy canned fruit packed in its own juice, with no added sugar
    • Rinse canned fruit and vegetables with cool running water to remove 1/3 of the sugar and sodium
  • Prepare healthy casseroles and stews made with vegetables and whole grains
    • Substitute legumes for half of the meat in recipes to reduce fat and lower costs
       
  • Make your own healthy frozen dinners
    • Even low-calorie prepared frozen dinners tend to be high in salt
    • When cooking, double recipes and freeze extras in microwave-safe containers to enjoy work for a healthy lunch or for a quick dinner when you're on the go

 

 

References

1. American Heart Association. Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. Updated January 13, 2014. Accessed January 31, 2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp
2. USDA Healthy Eating on A Budget. Accessed January 31, 2014. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-on-budget.html
3. American Heart Association. How to Eat Healthy On a Budget. January 31, 2013. Accessed January 31, 2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Diabetes/PreventionTreatmentofDiabetes/How-to-Eat-Healthy-on-a-Budget_UCM_316810_Article.jsp
 

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