Making healthy food choices can be difficult. Since people with Type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, there is also the added pressure of juggling diet needs for two separate conditions.
These healthy choices can become increasingly difficult to make when money is tight. Here are some tips to help you stick to your eating plan without breaking the bank:
- Limit red meat in favor of healthier and less expensive sources of protein. Eat at least 8 ounces of non-fried fish (particularly fatty fish) each week. Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, such as salmon, trout and herring. Unsalted nuts and beans have a lot of protein also, but eat appropriate portions since nuts tend to be high in calories.
- Enjoy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as satisfying, and typically just as healthy, as fresh produce. Just make sure to check the nutrition facts label to confirm that no extra sugar or salt was added.
- Avoid eating out, as many restaurants serve extra-large portions that come with big price tags. And fast-food restaurants options are typically loaded with saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
- Eat before you go shopping. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach will leave you more likely to buy on impulse.
- Grow a garden! Not only will you save on vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes, but you’ll be more physically active.
- Scout your local newspaper for coupons or download your grocery store’s app and look for online coupons before you go shopping.
- Shop for seasonal produce. Fruits and veggies are less expensive during their peak growing times, and they’re also tastier!
- Look for the generic brands. The ingredients are usually similar to the brand-name versions, but they’re much more affordable. Compare the ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to see for yourself.
- Make your own pre-packaged snacks by buying a large container of raisins, unsalted nuts or popcorn (no saturated fat) and separating them into individual portions yourself. By checking the nutrition facts on the food label, you can gauge how much to eat at one time based on the saturated fat, sodium and added sugar content. Remember to look for "hydrogenated oils" on the ingredients list to avoid trans fats (even if the package says "0g of trans fat").
- Plan your meals each week. By planning ahead, you can check the nutrition facts of a meal before you decide to make it and create a detailed grocery list for easy shopping. Planning also helps avoid impulse shopping.