For Rushdi Omar, finding the time and energy to cook a healthy meal for his family of four can be overwhelming at the end of the workday.
Omar, who has worked at Duke for seven years, said it might be tempting to swing by an Arby’s or McDonald’s fast-food outlet rather than cook salmon at home for his wife and daughters, ages 3 and 7.
“It’s easier to get off the health train,” said Omar, DCRI’s managing director.
With questions about how to stay on a healthy track, Omar turned to LIVE FOR LIFE, the wellness program for Duke employees, to live Webinars about the topic. He knows he’s not the only one looking for strategies to make smart food choices, while also saving money on grocery bills.
With food prices up 10 percent since last May — the largest annual increase in 41 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Grocery dollars should extend especially when prioritizing healthy options.
LIVE FOR LIFE Nutrition Program Manager Esther Granville said Duke’s Wellness Program employee. “It will make them feel better.”
Here are some strategies for eating healthy while sticking to a tighter budget.
Find the best deals
A tried and true way to cut costs is to find sales and use coupons.
When Granville hosted a group of co-workers at her home this summer, she wanted to roast chicken, which was $2.79 a pound at her regular store. I searched for deals online and found chickens selling for 99 cents a pound at a different grocery store.
Most grocery stores advertise prices and digital coupons on their websites, but there are also mobile apps to make it easier to find deals.
For coupons, there’sFlip“A website and app that provides hundreds of ads and coupons based on zip code. Flipp allows users to search for deals based on specific items. Another app,”BasketCreate a shopping list and instantly see a real-time price comparison between grocery stores.
“You can go to different stores for that better price,” said Granville, who uses the Basket app.
Make a simple plan
To avoid getting off track at the grocery store, Granville recommends sticking to a weekly meal plan. The practice of writing a list based on recipes helps you stick to a healthy set of items and prevents overspending.
In addition, the mobile app”a meal“It provides meal plans based on nutritional needs and provides a grocery list based on how many people you feed.
“One of the most important things that nutritionists will talk about is the idea of planning ahead,” Granville said. “One way you can really reduce food waste is to just plan what you are going to actually cook and eat that week.”
Marsha Perry, Duke College of Law A bookshop partner, I recently started using a strategy that helps her save money on food. She reviews recipes with her husband, creates a menu in the Notes app on her phone, then orders groceries online. This way, you don’t make off-list purchases in the store.
“I don’t tend to do impulsive buying when I sit down and place an order,” Berry said.
Granville also suggests focusing on the basic ingredients in a dish like beans, fruits, grains, and vegetables that make meals colorful. This approach can reduce the need for meat, which is one of the most expensive grocery items.
Choose canned or frozen foods
Using canned and frozen foods can save time and money without compromising nutrition.
These items, such as frozen broccoli, canned beans, and frozen fruit, are a staple in a Granville home. Beans in particular are a versatile protein that can become the star of many meals, as they are warmed and seasoned for wraps, soups, vegetable bowls, and more.
When it comes to frozen foods, Granville suggests choosing a small batch of fruits and vegetables that can be used quickly for a meal.
“If you’re in a hurry, you probably didn’t plan as well as things like frozen and mixed vegetables, you can take them out of the freezer and have them on your plate in two to three minutes,” Granville said. “It’s really cool to have in terms of keeping that dish really healthy.”
For Omar, canned chicken is useful for chicken salad during the working week. Instead of cooking meat, he can use canned chicken to make lunches all week long.
“Canned chicken,” he said, “a little mayonnaise, some celery, pepper and we’re done.” “You can make it a sandwich or you can throw it on your plate.”
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