How to Grocery Shop For Healthy Food on a Budget

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

What if you woke up tomorrow and nearly forty dollars was missing from your wallet? That's about to be a reality for nearly two million people across Michigan who depend on food stamps.

A federal extension of the program ends Friday, which means a family of four is about to see an average of 36 dollars cut from their food budget.

So how can you make up for that difference, while keeping your family fed? The key is how you shop.

For 36 years Katie McKinley, has been helping people eat right.

"If you don't plan ahead, plan to fail," she says.

McKinley has spent more than two decades working at the Ingham County Health Department. Friday she took News Ten grocery shopping at Kroger, to give us some tips for those trying to eat healthy on a shrinking budget.

"Try to stay away from convenient, refined, artificial and processed food," said Katie McKinley, a registered dietitian. "If you take the first letter from each of those words it spells CRAP--C for Convenient, R for Refined, A for Artificial and P for Processed."

She says she gets a lot of questions about bread.

"This wheat bread doesn't have any more fiber than a loaf of white bread, to get the fiber and the nutrients from that you need whole wheat, the label needs to say 100 percent whole wheat," she explained.

She says if you find that you are hungry a lot of the time, try adding more high fiber foods to your diet like beans, whole grains, fruits or vegetables.

Mckinley says to eat healthy each day you should have 5-10 fruits and vegetables, three servings of whole grains, lean proteins and dairy.

Sweets are ok, but should be limited.

"The purpose of a snack is not to fill you up. It's to curb your appetite until the next meal," said McKinley.

To save money while grocery shopping, she recommends buying with coupons, buying in-season foods and taking advantage of sales and rewards points.

"One of the things I do to save money is I plan my meals around recipes that use real ingredients," she said. She says you should avoid processed foods, and always go to a full service grocery store, not a gas station or convenience store.

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan stands to lose 183-million dollars because of cuts to food stamps. Ingham county alone will lose more than five-point-three million dollars.

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