The cost of food seems to keep climbing – I’m amazed at how much I spend at the grocery store to just feed 2 people. It can be difficult to afford adequate healthy food, especially for those with medical bills to pay.
Here are some ideas for cutting your food costs:
- Grow some of your own food. But be careful, as gardening can quickly become an expensive pursuit if you go overboard with the seed catalogue and at the nursery, which I have been known to do. However, you can grow your own vegetables economically with wise planning. Even if you just grow some greens in a few pots it can save some money. Be aware that you can’t just stick plants in any soil as I thought when I first tackled gardening. You have to start with good soil and understand the basics of gardening. Be sure to garden safely. Check out melioguide.com for Activities of Daily Living tips on gardening safely with osteoporosis. She offers guidelines on shoveling safety, weeding the garden and moving heavy objects. https://melioguide.com/health-guides/activities-of-daily-living/
- If you don’t have the ability to have your own garden then check into community gardens in your area. Community gardens are a great way to meet people and be part of an effort to get healthier food in our bodies. Most community gardens offer a small plot of land for a reasonable cost and some waive the fees for people who can’t afford the fee. Many help you learn about gardening as well. To find community gardens in your area check out the American Community Gardening Association website at https://communitygarden.org
- Explore Farmer’s Markets in your area. If you are on food assistance you may be eligible for Farmer’s market vouchers. This program provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at Farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs. To learn more about the Senior’s Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program go to https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfmnp/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program-sfmnp
- You don’t have to only buy fresh vegetables. Frozen vegetables are usually processed straight from the field and sometimes are more affordable.
- Remember dried beans are a super affordable food and a fairly good source of calcium. Google “economical bean recipes” and you will get all kinds of great ideas.
- The “Aunt Bertha” website helps people in need find a variety of resources including those dealing with food support and hunger such as food pantries, free meals, help paying for meals and food delivery. https://www.auntbertha.com
- Wholesome Wave offers some creative ways to improve access to healthy foods by doubling the value of food stamps when spent on fruits and vegetables and working with doctors to actually prescribe produce. https://www.wholesomewave.org/
- Google “economical or cheap eating” and you will find an endless supply of recipes and ideas.
Hope this helps.
Photo used with permission from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Photo taken by David H. Holben, PhD, RDN, LD.