Having diabetes can be expensive. Paying for test strips and medicine, shelling out co- payments for all of your healthcare appointments, buying exercise equipment or joining a gym – all of these things can quickly add up. On top of all this, high-quality food to help manage your diabetes and lower your risk of heart disease may seem unaﬀordable. Many people believe that eating healthy food is simply too expensive.
But is it really?
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently looked at the cost difference between the healthiest and unhealthiest diets. They concluded that healthy diets – those rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish – cost about $1.50 more per day, or $550 more per year, than unhealthy diets that included processed meats, refined grains and processed foods.
Don’t despair. It IS possible to eat healthy foods that don’t break the bank. Here are some suggestions that can help you stay within your budget.
Review your eating habits. Do you hit the nearest drive- thru or coffee shop on the way to work every morning? Do you eat out often for lunch or dinner? There’s usually a hefty price to pay for convenience. Think about where your food dollars go and how you can keep more of them in your wallet.
Be a saver, not a spender. You don’t have to stop eating out altogether, but it would save money to start eating breakfast at home or taking your lunch to work. Instead of running out for a pricey latte, think about bringing coffee to work. Or, you could try switching to tea, which is cheaper. Save the lattes for an occasional treat. If the hungry horrors strike mid-day, keep fruit, granola bars, cheese sticks or crackers at work instead of making a beeline for the vending machine.
Pinch pennies. Take the time to clip coupons (only for foods that you typically eat, and that are healthy) and peruse the Sunday supermarket ﬂyers. Find out what’s on sale. Compare prices.
Plan ahead. Think ahead for the upcoming week. What will you bring for lunch and snacks? What will you prepare for dinner? It’s easy to prepare two or three meals for the week when you make time for it over the weekend. Bring leftovers to work. If you roast a chicken one night, use the leftover meat for salads, and the bones to make soup. Eat more meatless meals. Meals that are more plant-based, such as vegetarian chili or black beans and rice are cheaper than having steak or pork chops, for example. Aim for at least one meatless meal each week. Fill up on frozen fruits and vegetables. If the price of produce makes you squirm, know that it’s okay to use frozen varieties, as long as they’re not packaged in a butter or cheese sauce. It’s not necessary to buy organic produce, either. It’s more important that you eat fruits and vegetables, whether they’re organic or not.