Take Home Messages from “Eating Healthy on a Budget”


Submitted by Monika Jingchen Hu

The International House organizes GLS workshop series and today’s topic is “Eating Healthy on a Budget”, presented by Nutritionist Toni Ann Apadula (RD, LDN). Here is some advice that I think will be beneficial for many of us.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables always make people feel healthy while eating, and they are the most expensive. At the other end of price are canned fruits and vegetables, which suit you well if you are having a tight budget for a month, and they will be definitely better than not eat fruits and vegetables at all. In between sit the frozen fruits and vegetables. They tend to be healthy and budget-friendly, and they are easy to cook (so you save time). Just make sure that you only defrost what you will eat, not the whole bag – nutrition will decrease if you do so. Another tip for canned fruits and vegetables – rinse them with water before having it to get rid of the sault.

Organic VS Non-organic Food
Organic foods are just expensive! Are they really worth it? The Environmental Working Group published reports about “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 12” (now seems to be Clean 15) which tell you what food you should pay extra for organic and what food you can have similar quality by choosing non-organic. Here is the link http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/. So maybe next time when you do grocery shopping, buy organic apples and peaches, and don’t be too nervous about buying non-organic onions and kiwi.

Save Money in Grocery Stores
Several tips on saving money in when you do grocery shopping: the most expensive product of an item is almost always at your eye level in the shelf, so look up and down to find similar and cheaper products; if you frequent some grocery stores, make sure you apply for a loyalty card, and some stores even have online coupon that you can use (Kroger); moreover grocery stores have sales cycle so try to learn about such circle for you to make better shopping plans; choose generic brand instead of brand name products if nutrition facts table are almost the same.

There is other valuable information at the workshop and I can only new the few above. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to visit Student Health Nutrition site (http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/nutrition). Also don’t miss the chance of making appointment with nutritionists to talk about your diet. The fee is covered by your student insurance (only applicable to undergraduate and graduate students) so it’s totally free!
Acknowledgement: Thank Toni Ann Apadula for such rich and valuable information.