Diabetes on a budget

Smart eating can seem difficult when you are counting your pennies, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful meal planning, shopping, and cooking you can trim both your waistline and your food budget. Frequent eating out can be disastrous to your pocketbook (Spending $5 a day on a "value meal" for lunch adds up to more than $1,200 per year).   Here are some suggestions to help you get the most of your food budget:


Shopping strategies that save money:

  • Use coupons ONLY if they make items you usually buy cost even less.
  • Check the unit price to compare the costs per ounce of different brands.
  • Keep a price list of items you buy regularly to serve as a guide to the week’s best buys.
  • If it’s been presliced or individually packaged, you are usually paying more.
  • Take advantage of in-store specials by substituting them for similar foods on your list.
  • Check receipt for errors to avoid overpaying.
  • Skip high-priced, special foods labeled “diabetic.”
  • Choose generic whenever possible.
  • Avoid the temptation of buying bagged/washed lettuce, cabbage and carrots; it costs more and you get less quantity.





How to save with meats & meat substitutes…

  • Ready-to-cook meats are more expensive (e.g. marinated boneless, skinless chicken). Buy plain and skin/season yourself.
  • Use canned fish and chicken for sandwiches, enchiladas, casseroles, and salads.
  • Extend your protein dollars by eating two or more meatless meals weekly.
  • Soups, stews, chili, and spaghetti with sauce stretch your food dollars further and make filling meals.




Make your own cost savers by…

  • …adding a sugar substitute and a little lemon or lime to create your own flavored water.
  • …preparing your own sauces and dressings to save on expensive bottled varieties.
  • …putting olive oil in a spray bottle to make your own cooking spray.
  • …checking out “Diabetes Meals on $7 a Day or Less: How to Plan Healthy Menus without Breaking the Bank,” at your local library.