Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Eating healthy on a budget

Published:Tuesday | October 29, 2013 | 12:00 AM

With Food Month just days away, many will be lamenting how expensive it is to eat healthy.

With the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar, everyone is on a budget, and ensuring that one chooses a variety of foods from all the food groups can be difficult.

Where you shop

For Food Month, The Gleaner has partnered with Progressive Grocers to offer 30 deals in 30 days. This will allow your dollar to stretch longer.

For the month of November, coupons will be printed in The Gleaner and The Star, offering discounts on items in more than 30 categories. These coupons are redeemable at all supermarkets in the Progressive group islandwide.

But some smart-shopping tips can help your money go even further. According to nutritionist Donovan Grant, "Where one shops and what one eats is very important when shopping on a budget."

Where you shop can determine what your bill will look like.

"Different places are better for different things," he emphasised.

Buying in bulk is also a very good option, Grant advised.

"You save more and some things can be stored for long periods, so in case the dollar fluctuates, you don't have to worry about buying certain things for a while because you have them already."

What you buy

Grant suggested that depending on what you want, it's best not to shop with children, because they tend to want everything they see - things that were not originally on your list.

"With your list as a guide, price everything you see so that you … can compare them to other places."

Protein-rich foods are an important part of your daily meals. However, according to Grant, "Too much animal protein is not very good for us. That is why a lot of Jamaicans suffer from high cholesterol."

He added: "We don't need so much protein, and it might be better for our health and easier on the pockets to use plant protein."

He has urged persons to get creative in the kitchen - for example, mixing chicken with pak choi or cabbage, and consuming more peas and beans, which would also work out cheaper.

"Mackerel, sardines and tuna will work out a lot cheaper than chicken or beef, for example, and they are a bit healthier. However, we have to pay attention to the labels. If you are overweight, it is best to buy tuna in water rather than oil. And it's important to check the sodium levels," he said.

"If you want to be a smart shopper, it's very important to plan ahead. It's good to create a weekly menu, so that you know what is needed before you go shopping."

- Shanica Blair