Buying healthy foods and eating well don’t have to break the bank. Eating well is about making sensible choices, watching our serving sizes, checking labels, knowing what foods give us the healthy advantages and even clipping coupons – for the right foods.

Read labels and remember what you’ve learned
Taking time to read and understand food labels will help keep us on the right path to nutrition. Teaching children what to choose will lay the foundation for them to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

Coupon clipping can lead to great savings, but you still need to make healthy choices. Many grocery stores offer great savings on a variety of items, and they even include recipes that help you create filling and nutritious meals your family will enjoy. Still, check the labels. If fruits and vegetables are canned in their own juices or water, you’re in business. Try to avoid vegetables preserved in extra sodium. If you select a product with sodium, make sure the label says low sodium or drain and rinse the product to remove the extra salt. It’s much the same with deli meats and cheeses. Look for a reduced-fat option and pick up the low-sodium pack.

Don’t forget how easy it is to prepare, serve and enjoy frozen vegetables and fruits. If you can, buy frozen veggies in bulk and use a bag of corn, peas or mixed veggies as a side with dinner. Frozen food is just as nutritious as fresh food because it retains most of its nutrients.

Sensible choices make a positive impact
Convenience in snacking always is tempting, but when we turn to the vending machine or packaged treats, we’re paying extra for that convenience. Not only is there an added cost, vending machine items are less likely to provide us with the nutrients our bodies need.

Growing children, especially teenagers, need to snack to meet the demands their bodies put on them. Providing them with easy-to-eat options like nuts, fruits or string cheese not only will give them healthy building blocks for their diets, it also will save money and teach them just how easy it is to turn a healthy choice into a habit early in life.

~Amber Smith, RD, CD, is a clinical dietician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

If you liked this blog, you may want to read Money saving tips for gluten-free families.

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