JM | Mar 3, 2023

5 ways to eat healthy on a budget

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The ability to have and maintain a healthy diet is something that many Jamaicans cannot afford, but with a few lifestyle adjustments, this reality could change.

A recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), published on Wednesday (March 1), found that the cost of a healthy diet in Jamaica is J$1,025 per person per day, an amount that 66 per cent of the population cannot afford.

In fact, the report found that three billion people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet, particularly in the Latin Caribbean region, where healthy food options are the priciest.

Since a healthy diet is essential to survival, Our Today did some research and found Mackenzie Burgess, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, who shared five ways that anyone can eat healthy on a budget.

1. Buy produce when in season

(Photo: REUTERS/Tingshu Wang)

The rules of supply and demand say that the price of an object is often more expensive when there is a high demand but low supply. Consequently, the price of that same object would be lower if there is a large supply but little demand.

Every fruit or vegetable has a specific time period when they are ripe and ready for consumption. When this happens, there is usually a large supply of the produce and vendors reduce their prices to compete with their colleagues.

To reduce the amount of money you spend on fruits and vegetables, consider buying foods when they are in season to get a better price.

2. Plan your meals

Often times when we are not sure what to eat, or simply do not have the time to prepare a healthy meal, we resort to either purchasing fast food, eating a quick snack or skipping a meal altogether.

Before heading to the grocery store, plan out your meals for the week and make a list of the ingredients you need. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and ensure you have everything you need to make healthy meals.

3. Use coupons or grocery store rewards

(REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo)

Many grocery stores have loyalty programs that offer discounts and coupons on your purchases that can help you afford a healthy diet.

Grocery stores also have coupons and discounts on healthy food items, such as whole grain bread, fresh produce, and lean meats that you can purchase.

4. Cook at home

(Photo: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril)

Eating out can be expensive, especially if it is an every day activity. Additionally, it often leads to consuming unhealthy foods.

Restaurants cater their meals to the general public, with limited or no meals that are geared towards a person’s personal diet.

However, cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients in your meals. Using produce that is already in your house is also a cost-effective way to eat healthier.

5. Buy in bulk

When items are bought in large quantities, a discount is often given for its purchase.

Items such as beans, rice and grains have a longer shelf life and are a great food option to buy in bulk.

However, produce often go bad quickly and can result in waste if purchased in bulk. If you are worried about your food spoiling, research ways that you can preserve the freshness of your purchase.

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