5 Tips for Cooking on a Budget by Jackie Termont

Eating on a budget can be a challenge, especially when you’re also managing a specific diet. When planning for a kidney-friendly diet, potassium, phosphorus, protein, and salt content should be considered. And if you’re also following a diabetes-friendly diet, carbohydrate content also needs to be considered. With some budgeting and planning, you can stay on track with both diets and save money on groceries.

5 Tips for Cooking on a Budget
  1. 1. Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store and stick to it. Grabbing items as you shop can add up very quickly.
  3. Plan out your meals and snacks to help guide you when you shop. Balance is important when managing diabetes. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat should all be part of your meal. The American Diabetes Association® has a guide called the Diabetes Plate Method that provides a visual of how your plate should look.
  5. 2. Canned and pre-packaged foods can save you money, but they can also contain ingredients that may affect your blood glucose (blood sugar) and contain extra salt. Look for lower-sodium canned foods, and fruit that is packed in juice (not syrup). These items take longer to go bad, which can stretch your food dollar.
  7. 3. Consider using one ingredient in multiple meals. For example, if your favorite starch is rice, try using that in a vegetable/protein bowl at one meal and as a side for chicken or fish at another meal. Cook chicken for a meal and any leftovers you could use in a soup or even prepared into chicken salad. If you enjoy eggs, boil some eggs to have as a snack with fruit or crackers, and to turn into egg salad as part of a quick lunch. This can stretch your staple foods into a variety of meals and also prevent food waste from more expensive items such as chicken or beef.
  9. 4. Frozen vegetables and fruit can also stretch your food dollar. They are flash-frozen and keep their nutrient value from when they were fresh. Since they’re frozen, they will last longer than fresh fruits and vegetables. Look for varieties that do not have extra sauces or syrup. This can reduce the carbohydrate and salt load.
  11. 5. Look for sales and store specials. Most grocery stores now have free member cards you can take advantage of to get the store discounts. Many times, manufacturers will also provide coupons online.

It can be challenging to manage more than one specialty diet, however, planning ahead can help you save time and money. Diabetes.org/kidney and DaVita.com have resources to help you in your meal planning as well.

This guest blog post was provided by DaVita dietitian Jackie Termont.

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