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Save Money Without Sacrificing Your Health

Ever wonder how you can get your SNAP benefits or pantry items to stretch a little more? Want to save money but still eat healthy to manage your diabetes? Great news, you can! There is no set meal plan or diet for those living with diabetes. Finding the right plan for you will likely include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts. Try these 3 tips to get the most out of your grocery budget.

3 Tips for Getting the Most of Your Grocery Budget

3 pounds of ground beef, 2 pounds of dried beans or a case of apples. Whether from a food donation center or wholesale grocery store - these bigger amounts can be hard for folks to manage. Most foods can fit into a blood sugar friendly plan, but healthy portions are key. Check out the tips below to utilize your groceries to their potential.

1.) Prioritize

  • Use fresh items first. Fresh produce, meats and bakery items should be used as soon as possible before spoiling. Items at food pantries may be close to their expiration date, try to prepare them first.
  • Cook meat or beans, then freeze into small portions for several meals. Place cooked protein in bags, lying flat to save on freezer space.
  • Chop and freeze fruits and vegetables for smoothies or soups.
  • Freeze bread to be toasted and enjoyed at a later time.

2.) Meal Plan

  • Make a game plan with what you have. Aim for a protein source with each meal to keep you full and help balance your blood sugars.
  • Beans: Add to soups, rice bowls, salads, on their own as a side dish.
  • Meat: Add to a tortilla for tacos, soups, sandwiches, rice bowls, with pasta.
  • Nut butter: Sandwiches, add to smoothies, pair with fresh fruit, on muffins.
  • Eggs: Omelettes, egg burritos, egg sandwich, hard boiled eggs.

3.) Maximize your WIC check, SNAP voucher or grocery budget.

  • Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains contain fiber which is powerful in managing diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Shop sales on fresh items. Check the ads to buy fresh produce that is in season and on sale. Meal plan around this.
  • Try store brand items like dried beans, brown rice or whole wheat bread to get more volume for less money.
  • Stores often mark down items, like meat, the closer they get to best by dates. This is an opportunity to buy items you plan to use right away.

Meal Ideas:

  • Leftover croissant or bread with 3 oz hamburger, side of canned carrots
  • Rice bowl: ½ cup brown rice, 1 cup cooked black beans, ¼ cup canned tomatoes
  • Smoothie: 1 banana, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 cup milk
  • Omelette with canned tomatoes and canned spinach (sauteed) with 1 piece of bread, 1 cup canned fruit 
  • 1 cup spaghetti, pasta sauce with ground beef and ½ cup canned green beans
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™

Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. She is the diabetes education program coordinator at CHI Health and sees patients at the Millard Clinic. She works with patients to identify root causes to health conditions and make changes to improve overall health. Ellen’s passion is to help others develop lifestyle habits that allow them to feel their best.

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