Healthy eating on a budget

Stretch your dollar farther for healthier foods

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  • | 8:22 a.m. July 17, 2013
Photo: Courtesy of WORK WELL WINTER PARK -
Photo: Courtesy of WORK WELL WINTER PARK -
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Did you know that the average American household spends about $5,000 each year at the grocery store? But according to a USDA Healthy Eating Index report, Americans on average are only getting 59 percent of the vegetable and fruit recommendations daily. So is it possible to eat healthy on a budget?

On Wednesday, July 10, Winter Park Memorial Hospital and Work Well Winter Park hosted Sherri Flynt with Florida Hospital’s Center for Nutritional Excellence to participate in the Health Education Series. During the lunch and learn, Sherri shared that contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eat healthier and spend less on food.

Healthy eating basics – It’s important to know what your body needs first and foremost. is a great resource to see what your meal plate should look like. Try to eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains and low fat dairy. Reduce your consumption of fat, sodium, refined grains and added sugars.

Myth buster – The USDA released a study that compared the average price of food as well as portion size. In the different food groups, it was found that contrary to what most people think, many healthy foods are no more expensive than junk food.

Plan – Planning meals for the week can save you time, and also money. Studies have found that the American family wastes about 25 percent of their food budget. Planning ahead can help ensure you have a strategy for leftover food so it won’t end up in the trash. Try this instead: Plan meals for the week so you can make the most of the food you have. You can even find quick and easy recipes online. Don’t forget to make a grocery list, check for sales and coupons, and ask about the reward card at your local grocery store. A few small steps can go a long way.

Purchase – We’ve all had impulse buys here and there but when it comes to making purchases, stick to your grocery list! Buy groceries when you’re not hungry, shop the perimeter of the store, buy in bulk, purchase fruits and vegetables when in season, and don’t forget to compare unit prices. Doing the pre-work at home can definitely save you money!

Prepare – The preparation phase can take some extra time, but that’s why it’s important to plan. Try to pre-cook on days when you have time. Make double batches and freeze in meal-sized containers or use leftovers in meals in the next day or so. You can even buy items in bulk and divide them into smaller containers. Combat convenience with a plan; your pocketbook will be happier (and larger!).

For additional lifestyle tips to support a healthy mind, body and spirit, visit or to find a physician call 407-303-DOCS (3627).


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