Food prices are on the rise, forcing many of us to re-evaluate our grocery budget. Budget-friendly fueling doesn’t have to be synonymous with boring meal routines. Despite ongoing inflation and supply chain issues, there are many ways to fuel your active lifestyle and fight food fatigue without compromising nutritional value or breaking the bank! Increase your meal satisfaction, reap health benefits, and start saving now with the following strategies:
Create a food budget
Set your limit for groceries and dining out each month. Be sale-savvy! Before each shopping trip, compare store prices and look for sales. When shopping, make a list and stick to it. Don’t shy away from conventional produce…organic produce is often much more expensive with the same nutritional value.
Plan your meals
Preparation is key before a competition or race, and so is planning before shopping. Take a little time each week to look online for yummy and cost-effective recipes. As a general guide to help with building meals, explore myplate. gov for tips and recipes to try today. Don’t be afraid of unconventional meals – everyone loves breakfast for dinner! Remember, for frozen foods and foods with a longer shelf life, buying in bulk often means cost savings in the long run.
Grow a garden
As the weather gets warmer, start a new hobby by growing your own produce or herbs from seed or transplant. Gardening keeps us active, enjoying the outdoors, and absorbing free vitamin D…a much-needed vitamin after being bundled up or indoors throughout the winter. Not sure where to start? Herbs can be very expensive at the grocery store, yet they are one of the easiest plants to grow and add a boost of flavor to every dish! Harvesting what you’ve grown yourself makes eating that much more enjoyable!
Remember – All foods fit
Make sure to include foods from ALL food groups and watch out for fad diets. Not only do these diets lack scientific research, but they can also break the bank. Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast, triathlete, or anything in between, Intuitive Eating is a wonderful way to fuel your body well and live an energized life! When it comes to budget-friendly fueling, ditching dieting can often be one of the first steps toward greater physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. Rather than stressing and spending in an attempt to eat “perfectly,” consider increasing mindfulness at mealtimes and decreasing “food rules” that are embedded into diet culture.
Cook at home
Be sure to use or freeze your leftovers, and get creative with the items already in your pantry. Make mealtime a fun, family event. You can’t go wrong incorporating nourishing and inexpensive eggs, beans, bananas, root veggies, oats and other whole grains, or canned tuna.
Early March in Memphis is still pretty chilly, and the winter months can make good fresh produce more difficult to find. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables hold much (if not slightly more) of the same nutritional value as fresh fruits and vegetables! As a bonus, these frozen items are often cheaper with a significantly longer shelf-life. March is also a great month for incorporating arugula into your salad greens, antioxidant-rich garlic into your recipes, a colorful burst of radishes, and earthy mushrooms into meals.
Look beyond supplements to meet your nutritional needs
Plain and simple – focus on real food for better-quality and more affordable nourishment.
An estimated 1 in 6 Americans are currently facing food insecurity. Memphis is home to several food assistance programs. If you or a loved one is interested in participating or volunteering, check out midsouthfoodbank.org or foodpantries.org for more information.
Jennifer Bookout RDN, LDN is a nutrition therapist at Memphis Nutrition Group, a nutrition and lifestyle counseling practice offering in-person and virtual nutrition therapy specializing in a non-diet, weight-neutral approach. Memphis Nutrition Group helps individuals reconnect with their bodies, find confidence and clarity in everyday choices, and create a peaceful, balanced approach to food that tastes good and feels even better. Contact Memphis Nutrition Group at 901.343.6146 or visit MemphisNutritionGroup.com for more information.