Snacks and Money

— Written By Donna Tulley and last updated by

School is back in session. Life with children has resumed its hectic schedule. Adults are rushing to keep up with the demands of daily life. With so many things going on, we sometimes overlook important details that affect our health and budget.

Snacking is an important part of healthy eating as long as we are making wise choices. These choices not only affect our health, but they affect our budgets. With a little planning you can take advantage of the best of both worlds. Here are 12 ways to save money and snack healthy adapted from the American Institute for Cancer Research, Newsletter on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention, Spring 2002:

  1. In-season produce is often less expensive: berries, melons, and plums. Apples, bananas, and grapes are available year-round.
  2. Buy only as much fresh produce as you will use within 3 or 4 days (except for fruits that last long). After that, the nutritional value decreases. Throwing away food is expensive; use over-ripe fruit, like bananas and peaches as a sweetener for hot cereal or in baking.
  3. Choose canned or frozen fruits and vegetables when fresh is expensive or unavailable, but remember to avoid added sugar and salt. Always read food labels.
  4. To prevent impulse buying, always shop for groceries with a list.
  5. Shop on a full stomach to avoid unplanned purchases. It is hard to resist cookies and chips when you are hungry.
  6. Where bulk foods are available and less expensive, choose to scoop your own cereal, nuts, dried fruit, etc.
  7. Purchase plain, non-fat yogurt and add your own chopped apples, dash of cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla. You’ll get less sugar and spend less money.
  8. Instead of a gallon of ice cream, buy popsicles or ice cream sandwiches (or try soy versions). Although individually packaged options cost more per unit, they will help you control portion sizes.
  9. Healthy snacks can be found across the grocery aisles: fresh fruit salad, raisins, baked tortilla chips, flavored rice cakes, and crunchy whole-grain cereal.
  10. Since baked goods freeze well, make muffins and quick breads in large quantities. Include whole grains, shredded vegetables and fresh or dried fruits.
  11. Create your own trail mix with unsalted nuts, whole-grain cereal, pretzels and chopped dried fruits. This is less expensive than the store-bought kind, which often contains excess salt, sugar and saturated fat.
  12. Remember that eating healthfully now will save money on health costs in the future.

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