11 Sep Nutrition Nugget
By Erin Casey, MS, RD, LD
Family Practice Associates Dietitian 5 Back to School Meal Planning Tips to Save Your Waistline and Your Wallet It’s that time of year again- the lazy days of summer have come and gone and now school is back in session and along with it sports, band practice, dance lessons and karate have commenced, seemingly all at once. Whether you are shuffling kids back and forth to activities or are just an innocent bystander stuck in traffic while others shuffle their kids to activities, fall brings about a newfound energy and busyness. For many of us it also symbolizes a fresh start- a time to get back on track with our health and wellness goals and finish out the year strong. We all know that a healthful diet is essential to overall health, but eating healthy on the go can be both challenging and expensive. Here are some tips and tricks to eat healthfully throughout your busy week while also being easy on your wallet:
1) Make a plan. This might sound intuitive but planning ahead is truly the best way to set yourself up for success. Take the time to actually sit down, pen in hand (or tablet, or phone) and determine how many meals per week you can prepare and when you can prepare them. Be realistic as to what your schedule allows. That might mean you make dinner 2 nights per week and your spouse makes 1. It could also mean you make a family event out of meal prep on the weekends and everyone grabs from the stockpile throughout the week. You could also get the kids involved and do all of the prep work like chopping vegetables, marinating meats, cooking rice or pasta, etc. on the weekends, making meal assembly fast and easy during those hectic weeknights. Another great option is to double your favorite recipes, eat one batch and freeze the rest for nights when you have less time. Cook once- eat twice!
2) Make a list. Again, might sound intuitive, but taking the time to plan out your shopping trips will make them not only quicker and more efficient, but will likely save you money too! You can save even more time by utilizing grocery delivery and pick up services offered by many stores at little to no cost. Be sure to check local papers for coupons and sales to compare prices. Most stores have weekly specials or loyalty programs for additional savings. Apps like fetch.com® and Ibotta® can help you track savings and alert you to special deals near you!
3) Buy in bulk. Buying items that you use often in larger quantities will save you money over time. So stock up on pantry staples when they go on sale or buy larger quantities of items such as frozen vegetables or low-fat yogurt to save cost.
4) Shop in season. Buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season helps to guarantee both freshness and usually reduced cost. Many farmers’ markets also have voucher and incentive programs to encourage purchasing of locally grown fruits and vegetables for groups such as seniors, single-parent homes, low-income, etc.
5) Avoid pre-packaged foods. This one is a double whammy. Focusing on whole foods for snacks and meals helps cut back on cost and reduced the amount of sugar and other additives in the diet. This can mean cooking your own meals, making your own trail mix, or just snacking on whole fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that kids are more likely to eat foods that they had a hand in preparing, so employ little helpers to assist with snack bag assembly, portion out yogurt or cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes to pack in lunches throughout the week.
Call 859-278-5007 to schedule your appointment with Erin to create an individualized plan based on your needs, health circumstances and lifestyle.
Appointments available Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 8am-4pm.
Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance. Please check your coverage by asking the following questions: Is Medical Nutrition Therapy a covered service under my medical plan? What is my deductible, and has it been met? How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover? What is the coverage amount per session?