Advice for healthy eating on a budget

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(Host)  Everyone knows they’re supposed to eat more fruits and vegetables.

And with the price of groceries rising, eating nutritiously on a budget is not so easy.

But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports its possible with a little work.

(Host)  Lara Borders is a Rutland area nutritionist and diabetes educator.   When it comes to grocery shopping – she says a little strategy goes a long way.   For instance – and this is a no brainer – don’t go to the store hungry.   Tip number two?  Don’t’ take you kids shopping, if possible.  And number three don’t try to wing it.

(Borders) "Make a grocery list.  Do not leave home without a list.  If you leave home without a list, chances are you’re going to end up with a bunch of things you don’t need."  

(Keck)  But planning nutritious yet affordable meals can be tough.   Borders says a growing number of grocery stores- including Price Chopper and Hannaford –  are stepping up to help with websites that provide healthy recipes and menu planning.

(Borders) "You click on it and what it actually does is give you a list of grocery items to shop for during the week – Monday through Friday and will actually price it out to be about 2 dollars a meal per serving."  

(Keck)  Rutland nutritionist Donna Hunt says people often get in a rut when it comes to cooking, so these websites are a good way to introduce some cost effective foods you might overlook – like legumes.

(Hunt) "wherever you can decrease the meat proteins that are so much more expensive and typically higher in fat and increase the legumes – you’re decreasing the cost and increasing the nutritional value and they’re just a great source of protein."  

(Keck)   Canned tuna, eggs, peanut butter and whole turkeys are other nutritious but low cost foods.   And don’t throw out those coupons – start clipping.  Or Borders says print your own from the many internet coupon sites.

(Borders) "Just using 5 coupons a week at 50 cents each means a savings of about $130 dollars a year." 

(Keck)  Coupons are easy to forget, so Hunt recommends writing your grocery list on an envelope and stashing the coupons inside.   How else to be thrifty?   Don’t buy shredded cheese – buy a block and shred it yourself.    Same thing with salad greens.   And take a minute to check out the unit price of an item.  Hunt says buying in bulk is not always cheaper.   If all of this sounds a little daunting – it is.  Hunt is the first to admit, it’s not easy being healthy.

(Hunt) "It takes a lot of work, a lot of organization, a lot of effort to eat healthy and also to find the time to exercise.  But the pay off is such a huge thing.  And that’s something oftentimes people don’t look at the flipside – what is the cost if I don’t’ do some of these things."

(Keck)   For VPR news, I’m Nina Keck.      

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