Healthy Snacks on a Tight Budget

July 13, 2017
Office of Dr. Steven Fass

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One of the biggest challenges you will face after gastric surgery is the drastic change to your diet. While eating smaller portions may seem like it will help maintain your grocery budget, the switch to healthier and leaner proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and meal replacement shakes could take its toll on your pocketbook. Cheap, on-the-go snacks are marketed toward our busy lifestyle with little regard for our health. When you make the choice to change your lifestyle, you’ll find yourself changing grocery aisles as well.

But don’t worry that your budget will inflate. There are plenty of inexpensive and healthy options for quick snacks. The trick is intentional buying and planning ahead.

Protein Packing

After surgery, it’s important to build and maintain your muscle mass by focusing on high-protein meals and snacks. While lean meat and fish can be the most expensive items you purchase, creating your own protein-laden snack containers is simple and budget friendly.

Buy:

  • cheese blocks you dice yourself
  • chicken breasts you cook and shred (or a rotisserie chicken from the deli)
  • eggs for hard boiling
  • off brand nuts such as cashews or almonds (dry roasted)
  • large containers of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt (you portion)
  • on sale deli meat such as roasted turkey (or buy a small turkey breast and cook)

Check out BentoLunch.net for more great “savebucks” protein boxes.

Sweet Tooth Fix

By far the healthiest–and cheapest–way to get a sugar fix is through whole fruit. While the dirty dozen list may contain some of your favorites, and you may want to consider purchasing organic for those, overall one of the best ways to get fruit cheaply is to buy what’s in season.

Summer’s bounty includes peaches, melons, and berries. By buying in season at a farmer’s market or local seller, you’ll get more for your buck, and possibly even enough to freeze for smoothies later. In the fall, hit up an apple orchard and pick away. During winter, get your citrus fix with boxes of grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines.

Crunch on Grains and Veggies

Since potato chips are likely off your snack list now, consider other, less expensive ways you can satisfy your crunchy snack cravings.

  • carrot sticks with hummus
  • celery filled with your favorite nut butter
  • rice cakes sprinkled with cinnamon
  • homemade kale chips
  • sliced cucumbers with homemade dip

The trick to saving money with vegetables–like fruits–is to buy whole and in season. Consider also grocery stores that offer the best deals. For instance, Aldi has made a name for itself as the money savers chain store of choice. But since they only get one delivery a day, shop early for the best produce available.

What’s in your snack box this week?

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