Project Healthy Living: Eat Well Spend Less

by Char Brooks, Project Healthy Living Coach and Attorney

????????????????????????????????????????You know it’s a good idea to eat healthy.  Though there may be no consensus on what healthy eating really is, you know it’s not fast food.  Whether financial resources are limited or not, there are many reasons you may choose to eat whatever you want.  After all, it’s easy right?

It may be easy to eat out of a box.   However, it is just as easy and economical to eat healthy.

Here are some simple ways to eat healthy:

  1. Enjoy it raw: Project Healthy Living recommends eating 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day.  Some orange juice in the morning, a salad at lunch with some broccoli slaw in it and a crisp apple at night and you’re good to go!
  2. Blend it: Keep some plain yogurt on hand, your favorite juice and some frozen fruit.  Throw a ½ cup of yogurt, ½ cup of juice and 1 large scoop of fruit in the blender and grab a straw.  Enjoy your smoothie and put your feet up.
  3. Steam it: Grab your favorite greens (i.e. kale, spinach, collards) and a little olive oil and garlic.  Pour the olive oil once around the pain and once it’s hot add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.  Then throw in the greens and stir it around.  When it’s all wilted, add some coarse salt and a touch of nutmeg.  Enjoy!
  4. Accessorize your favorite foods: If ice cream is your thing, add your favorite fruit to it.  If homemade mac and cheese makes you sing, how about a little broccoli on the side.  Do you love candy?   Perhaps a caramel apple will satisfy your sweet tooth.
  5. You CAN do it: Canned fruits and vegetables can be a lifesaver especially when you’re busy or low on funds.  Take some black beans, canned corn and a little oil and vinegar and you’ve got a delicious nutritious lunch.  Wrap it in a tortilla if that sounds good .  Break out the mandarin oranges, pineapple and raisins and you’ve got a sweet treat.

Here are some ways to spend less and eat healthy:

  • Watch the Sales:  Pay attention to the newspaper and radio for sales at the stores.  You can also check online and sign up for special pricing at stores if you use a smartphone.
  • Look Before You Buy:  The best sale on produce is only worthwhile the produce is truly fresh.  Check underneath that package of raspberries and make sure that everything’s looking good.????????????????????????????????????????
  • Check The Farmer’s Market:  Generally, the produce at the farmer’s market is cheaper and fresher than what you’ll find in the stores. Click here to find farmer’s markets in your area along with their hours. Many farmer’s markets take bridge cards and offer double the savings through the Double Up Food Bucks program.
  • Enjoy Seasonal Savings:  Apples, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots are in season in Michigan right now. Click here for a complete list of what’s in season in the midwest.
  • Buy in Bulk:  Get together with your friends and decide what fruits and vegetables you’d enjoy. Canned tomatoes, corn, pineapple, juices are all good choice.  Canned and frozen vegetables are good to have on hand when the weather gets bad.  If one of you is a member of a grocery warehouse store, you can increase your savings by pooling your resources and buying a case of your favorite things.

What I stress in my Project Healthy Living classes is that making small changes in what you eat makes a big difference to how you feel.  If you’re already enjoying a bounty of fruits and vegetables, try adding something you don’t usually eat.  If you are not eating fruits and vegetables, that’s no problem either.  Start with a bite or two of whatever you like and see what happens.

5144274Char Brooks is a Project Healthy Living Coach and attorney at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been a member of the Elder Law team since mid 2013. Char holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University, and graduated with her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School over 30 years ago. As a Project Healthy Living Coach at Elder Law, Char facilitates classes for seniors and offers one on one coaching sessions to Michigan seniors to help them improve the quality of their lives.

The US Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and, where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish). For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at (800) 221-5689, which is also in Spanish or call the Michigan hotline number at (855) ASK-MICH.
This material was funded in whole or in part by the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by way of the State of Michigan and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These institutions are equal opportunity providers and employers.

People who need help buying nutritious food for a better diet, call the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline: (855) ASK-MICH.

Leave a Reply