Fact Sheet: Healthy Low-Cost Eating and Shopping

As we age, nutrition remains an important part of our lives. Studies have shown that a healthful diet in our later years helps to both reduce the risk of disease such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, as well as manage the signs and symptoms of diseases. Improper nutrition can lead to problems recovering from an illness, increase in health care costs, higher incidence of nursing home admission and a poorer quality of life.

However some “healthy” food choices like fresh fruit or chicken are often more costly, leading seniors to buy less expensive, less nutritious foods. So how can we make healthy food choices while on a budget?

Healthy Low-Cost Eating

MORE: fruits, vegetables, foods high in fiber and calcium-rich foods
LESS: foods high in sodium, saturated fat, sugar and cholesterol
AVOID: trans fats

Healthy Low-Cost Shopping

Can’t chew? Try other foods like applesauce, cooked cereals, eggs or beans.
Can’t shop? Ask a friend for help, try store delivery or use the store scooter.
Can’t cook? Use the microwave or try a senior center meals program.
No appetite? Eat with friends, try spices or herbs, talk to your doctor.
Short on money? See about eligibility at Meals on Wheels or Food Stamps.

Understanding the Food Label

The “Nutrition Facts” on the food label can help you easily make smart food choices.

A Healthy Low-Cost Favorite...Beans!

Beans are high in protein and fiber, low-fat, inexpensive and easy to prepare. They can be purchased dry, canned or frozen. Cooked beans can be stored safely in air tight containers in the refrigerator (at least 4 days) or freezer (up to 1 year). Beans contain sugars that sometimes cause stomach gas. Always soak, then rinse dry beans prior to cooking to reduce these sugars. Rinsing canned beans will do the same, as well as reduce the sodium. Also, gradually introduce beans into your diet. For more serious symptoms try an anti-gas aid like Beano®*. Beans come in many varieties and can be used in soups, salads, casseroles, stews, meatballs and meatloaf as a side dish and in many Mexican food recipes like tacos, burritos, enchiladas or tostadas.