How to Eat Healthy on a Budget as a Low-Income Senior
Eating healthy can be difficult as the price of healthy foods, vegetables, and fruits increases. It can be challenging if you’re over the age of 65. However, consistent access to healthy food can be the difference between enjoying your twilight years or having frequent doctor appointments. Additionally, with many seniors living on a fixed income, it can be hard to justify spending large amounts of money to stay healthy. Is there a way to eat healthy without compromising your income as a senior?
Fortunately, you can eat healthy food and stay healthy, even if you’re a senior, retired, and qualify for low-income. Of course, it will require research, but knowing how to keep your body in good working condition through well-maintained meals throughout the day will ultimately be helpful. Here we will discuss various healthy eating methods without purchasing expensive foods or subscribing to expensive meal plans.
Planning to Eat Healthy in Retirement
When you reach the age of seniority, chances are you won’t want to work anymore. At that point, you may have already been working for decades. If you have amassed retirement savings, you will receive this and social security income to live from. This can be helpful as it will establish a ready-made budget for you to work with. This will be your living expense. Once you know what you can spend on food, the research begins!
Eating healthy is less expensive than many make it out to be. Whether you eat a particular diet or try to stay organically healthy, there are plenty of ways to meet your health goals without draining your income. Once you know how much you can spend on food, you can begin a meal preparation plan to help you ration out your food and money. Knowing what your meals will consist of can significantly impact your food spending habits.
Keeping track of what you buy and eat can also help keep your health goals in sight. If you record what you eat and how often you buy your food, you can see firsthand where your money goes. Once you do this, you can make changes as you see fit. For example, you can find alternatives to items that may have gone up in price or are no longer available in your area.
Ways to Keep Eating Healthy
If you need access to healthy food in your area, whether it isn’t readily available or you need help getting it, you can use alternatives to help provide healthy food when needed.
Meal Delivery Services
You can receive healthy food through subscription meal delivery services. Instead of shopping for ingredients every week, you can have the right ingredients sent to you regularly. Services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron will provide you with your choice of meals. Each meal is prepared with fresh ingredients and portioned to cater to one or two individuals. Meals will be delivered with instructions on how to prepare them. This way, you know what you’re eating is healthy food.
Try to compare meal delivery services before you commit to any. Not all meal delivery services cost the same amount of money or deliver to the same places. Be sure that the service you want has the food you want. Meals will be distributed evenly, but you should be sure that the food you’re preparing will satisfy you. You can choose individual meals you want to swap with some meal delivery services. If you see a meal you don’t like, change it for one you do. Also, mention any particular conditions that will impact what you can eat. Any health conditions or food allergies should be made known to your chosen service.
Food Delivery Services
If you want to have more control over what you eat and when you eat it, you can opt for food delivery services instead of getting meal packages. There are a few variations in the food delivery industry. For example, local grocery stores can deliver their goods to you or have dedicated food storages deliver unique food items straight to your door. Each method of food delivery has benefits that can help to keep your costs down while you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Local Grocery Store Delivery
If you decide to have groceries delivered from local stores, you can save yourself the trouble of leaving your house. Many supermarket chains have delivery services made possible using online websites and mobile apps. Stores like Stop N Shop, ALDI, and even Walmart, will deliver to your door. If you need more variety in your delivery choices, you can always use Instacart. With Instacart, you can choose which store you get your groceries from. A personal shopper will go and gather your items for you, tell you whether items are available or not, make suitable replacements, check out when ready, and deliver your items straight to you.
While this might be a desirable course of action, there are some things you should consider. First, the quality of the food you receive is different from what you want it to be. Through customer service, you can complain if you receive groceries that are opened, expired, or otherwise unusable, but this will likely result in a refund more than a week later. Your shopper might be someone other than the most reliable person to gather your desired items. And if a replacement needs to be made, consider listing replacements instead of leaving it up to your shopper. If you’re living on a budget, you want your groceries to be replaced with higher-priced items with your knowledge.
Dedicated Food Storages
The most popular form of dedicated food storage is FreshDirect. This service works like Instacart, but most of the items available on FreshDirect are directly from FreshDirect and not from another store. This means that, barring some mistake in the website listing, you’ll get exactly what you paid for when you placed your order. In addition, the quality of your food will almost always be guaranteed fresh and ready to use. Finally, should there be any issue with an item you receive, you can always contact customer service and have a replacement sent or receive a timely refund?
This method of food delivery has its challenges as well. Whereas you can have Instacart delivered within hours (if you order early enough in the day), you’ll have to have an available delivery time slot with services like FreshDirect, and most slots are a day or two later. Also, because of the quality of the food, you might pay premium prices for specific items. It’s okay if most orders go towards meats and poultry.
Other Ways to Save Money While Still Being Healthy
Portion Your Meals
What is better than paying someone else to prep your meals for you? Prepping your meals yourself! You can save a lot of money by making a week’s worth of meals in one or two days and saving them. You can control your portions while focusing on making healthy food. You can prevent overeating, resulting in spending more money when shopping for food.
When you portion out your meals, you can pay attention to what you eat and how much you eat. Comprising your meals with vegetables and fruits can go a long way in maintaining your health. You should always consult with your primary care physician or a licensed nutritionist if you plan on making a plan for your food.
Practice Selective Fasting
When you fast, your body uses existing fat stores for energy. When you eat, your body stops using fat stores and burns through glucose. Practicing fasting is a great way to watch what you eat while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Overnight, if you’re asleep, your body starts the process of fasting. This is why our first meal in the morning is called breakfast.
If you decide to fast, as with any decision about your food intake, you should talk to your doctor before drastically changing your habits.
Low-income senior citizens might assume they can’t maintain healthy eating habits because it costs too much. While it can be expensive to eat healthily, it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to have a healthy diet while sticking to a strict budget. From having certain foods delivered to planning your meal preps over the weekend, you can take your physical and financial health into your hands in your twilight years.
You may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) if you qualify for specific government programs. Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.