Monday, May 8, 2017

The Thrifty Senior Citizens' Guide to Eating Healthy



As you get older, eating a healthy diet becomes even more important than when you were young. Seniors need more of certain nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and B vitamins, as well as plenty of protein and fiber. Getting the nutrition you need doesn't have to break the bank, though. With a bit of planning and consideration, you can eat healthy without going over budget. Here's how.

Plan Your Meals


At the start of each week, or before you go grocery shopping, take 30 minutes or so to plan out your meals. Look at what you already have in the pantry or refrigerator and put together a list of simple, easy to prepare meals that use many of the ingredients you already have on hand.

Then, make a list of any additional groceries you'll need to buy to prepare those meals. When you go grocery shopping, stick to your list so that you don't feel tempted to overspend on impulse purchases.

Of course, if you are living in a retirement facility, then it can be harder to plan your own meals. Where possible discuss any nutritional or dietary requirements with the cooking staff to ensure that you get the nourishment you require in a specialized diet.

Shop the Sales (and Use Coupons)


Pretty much every item in the grocery store will go on sale at some time or another. When planning your weekly meals and grocery lists, consult the sales flyers from a few of your favorite stores. Try to only buy foods that are on sale that week.



Combining store sales with coupons can also help you save more on your groceries. Just remember that having a coupon isn't an excuse to buy something. If you wouldn't ordinarily buy an item or if the coupon is for an "unhealthy" food like candy or chips, you're better off not using it and skipping buying that product altogether.


Consider Lower Cost Swaps


Protein is an essential nutrient all throughout your life. It becomes even more necessary as you get older, as many seniors reduce their protein intake or are simply not getting enough. The tricky thing about protein is that many people think it's expensive.

While meats such as beef, chicken, and fish are pricier than other options, they aren't the only way to boost the protein in your diet. Plenty of low-cost foods, such as beans and eggs, are full of protein. If you can't afford meat with every meal, consider swapping in beans or eggs as needed.

Dairy products are also an excellent source of protein and are low cost. Plus, when you consume dairy, you are upping your intake of calcium and vitamin D, which boosts bone health. Look for low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt, 1 or 2 percent milk, and cottage cheese to increase your protein and calcium consumption without going over budget.

Skip the Processed Foods


While it's true that some processed foods are less expensive at the checkout register than healthy whole foods, those processed foods typically cost more in the long run. If you continue to eat sugary, high fat and high cholesterol foods throughout your life, you have an increased risk for pricey chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.




Plus, the extra cost of healthy foods is usually negligible. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that healthy eating cost about $1.50 more per day. If that extra $1.50 per day saves you thousands on future medical bills, it's worth it.


Buy the Store Brand


Generic or store brand food products are typically the same quality as their branded counterparts, but often cost about 25 percent less. Whether you're buying milk, vegetables or other whole foods, trading a name brand for a generic brand can reduce your food spending without you noticing a big difference in taste.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. Paying attention to the foods you eat can help you live a longer, healthier life.


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