How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Updated:Jan 31,2013
Woman Buying Food At Outdoor Market

Making healthy food choices can be difficult. And because people with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, there is often the added pressure of juggling diet needs for two separate conditions.

Making matters worse, these healthy choices become increasingly difficult to make when money is tight. To help you stick to your eating plan without breaking the bank, frugal living expert Jonni McCoy has provided the following tips for eating healthy on a budget.
  • Limit red meat in favor of healthier and less expensive sources of protein. Eat fish at least twice a week, especially fish high in omega 3 fatty acides that are good for the heart, such as salmon, trout, and herring.  Unsalted nuts and beans have a lot of protein also, but make sure you review the salt content and eat appropriate portions since nuts tend to be high in fat.
  • Enjoy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as satisfying, and typically just as healthy, as fresh produce. Just make sure to check the nutrition facts to confirm that no extra sugar or salt was added.
  • Avoid eating out, as most restaurants come with extra large portions and extra large price tags. And options at fast food restaurants are typically loaded with excess fat, salt and sugar.
  • Eat before you go shopping. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach will leave you more likely to buy on impulse.
  • Grow a garden! Not only will you save on vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, but you’ll stay active with this new hobby. And regular exercise is another important part of managing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Scout your local newspaper for coupons before you go shopping. It may cost $1-2 to purchase the Sunday paper, but your savings will likely exceed this amount.
  • Shop for seasonal produce – fruits and veggies are less expensive during their peak growing times, and they’re also tastier!
  • Look for the generic brands. The ingredients are usually the same as the brand name versions, but they’re much more affordable.
  • Make your own pre-packaged snacks by buying a large container of raisins, unsalted nuts or or popcorn (no salt or fat) and separating them into individual portions yourself. By checking the nutrition facts on the food label, you can gauge how many to eat at one time bsed on the fat, salt, and sugar content.
  • Plan your meals each week. By planning ahead, you can check the nutrition facts of a meal before you decide to make it and create a detailed grocery list for easy shopping. Planning also helps avoid impulse shopping.


This content was last reviewed on 7/5/2012.