When you’re on a fixed budget, eating healthy may be the last thing on your mind. Costs of housing, medicines and medical appointments may only leave a bit of money for food. In turn, you may find yourself reaching for cheap, processed food products like canned soups or deli meats instead of fresh, whole foods. These foods can certainly create a meal, but over time such processed food products that are high in fat, sugar and sodium can impact your overall health. The good news is that you can still eat healthy while still staying on a budget.
Healthy eating is a little different for everyone depending on your health needs. For example, someone with diabetes needs to eat less carbohydrates and sugar in their diet to control their blood glucose levels. On the other hand, however, those at risk for heart disease will need to limit sodium and fat in their diet.
Even though your health needs may differ slightly from the next person, the basics of healthy eating include:
Fruits and vegetables are important because they contain a wealth of nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like vitamin C. Fiber helps keep your digestive system healthy, while antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in your body. By reducing inflammation in your body, you can lower your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Eating enough protein is important to help maintain lean muscle mass which you need to preserve to aid mobility. The average older adult should consume around 5 ounces of protein each day, but you may need more if you’re active or if you have an injury or illness. You can figure out about how much protein you need by dividing your body weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you need about 68 grams of protein daily, or 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Read below to consider the following examples of portion sizes of foods and the amount of protein they contain.
Eating too much added sugar can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions like obesity if consumed in excess over time. Added sugar is not the same as natural sugar though. Natural sugar is in dairy products and fruits and is OK in this form in moderation. This is because such foods also contain nutrients that are healthy like fiber and protein.
However, if you look on the nutrition label of foods like cola, candy, sweets and sauces, you will see added sugar content. This sugar is not naturally in foods and can add sugar content when not necessary to many food products. Try to limit added sugar as much as possible in the diet.
Drinking enough fluids each day is vital to optimal health. Not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, which can cause symptoms like:
The average adult should consume between 11.5 to 15.5 cups of fluid each day. Such fluid includes water, milk, juice, tea and decaffeinated drinks like decaf coffee or decaf cola. It’s important though to drink most of your fluids from low to no-calorie sources though to avoid consuming too many empty calories.
Besides coupons, there are several ways you can save money so you can eat healthy on a budget.
If you aren’t sure where to start to eat healthier, then you may want to health insurance company to see what wellness programs are available. You may have coverage for a registered dietitian to help you plan meals to ensure you’re eating enough nutrients each day. Or, look at wellness programs available that can provide you with stipends for farmer’s markets to buy healthy foods with.
Furthermore, check out government resources like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program which can provide stipends to help older adults purchase healthy foods to supplement their diet. A healthy diet on a budget is possible with a little planning and the willingness to ask for help. Your body will thank you.
Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.