Food prices continue to get higher, while package sizes are getting smaller…and that is a problem for older adults on fixed incomes. But here are some strategies for purchasing and preparing healthy food on a budget…

Avoid impulse buying by shopping with a list. Plan the meals for the next few days, and stick to buying just the ingredients you need plus, perhaps, some sale items. This will keep your food bills in check and help you avoid unhealthy foods that catch your eye at the store. Important: Always eat before heading to the grocery store so you’re not hungry and won’t buy on impulse.

Buy fresh produce on sale and in season. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are exceptionally healthy and delicious, but they can be pricey, especially if they have to be shipped in from another area or country. Fresh produce also can go bad quickly, wasting your money. Best: Buy sparingly, and freeze what you can’t eat promptly, such as bananas (without skins), berries, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and corn.

Consider canned and frozen foods. These can be just as healthy as fresh produce as long as they don’t have a lot of added ingredients. Check the label to be sure there is no added sugar and sodium. Also: Rinse canned beans and vegetables to wash off the salt that is added as a preservative.

Buy generic and store brands. These generally are less expensive than brand-name foods and often are made by the same manufacturers.

Use store loyalty programs. On your smartphone, download the apps for your favorite grocery stores, so you have access to digital coupons and store-only specials. If you need help using the apps, ask a store employee. When you get to the store, peruse the store flyer for specials and coupons.

Go meatless sometimes. Meat is especially expensive these days and, depending on the type, can be high in unhealthy saturated fat. Substitute healthier foods such as eggs, beans, tofu, cottage cheese and canned fish for meat in some meals.

Cook at home. You don’t have to give up eating out entirely—just don’t do it more than once or twice a week. You will save money and calories. When you do cook: Make large portions, and freeze appropriate serving sizes.

Grow herbs on your windowsill. If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs, cultivate them yourself. Basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, mint and other herbs are easy to grow indoors all year long. You can place them on a windowsill or invest in a grow-light kit. Also buy: An herb keeper for your refrigerator to keep herbs fresh after picking.

Buy nonperishable items in bulk. These include whole-grain cereals and pastas, lentils and dried beans, as well as paper products such as napkins, paper towels and toilet paper. Just be sure you have the room to store what you buy.

Shop at discount stores. Dollar stores, Aldi, Big Lots, Job Lot and big-box stores including Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Walmart and Target often are cheaper than supermarkets.

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