Many families are concerned about the rising costs of food.
Shawn Smith, Registered Dietician and Nutrition Program Director at Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), a non-profit Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) serving 23 towns in the greater Brockton and Plymouth areas, shares tips from the USDA: Food and Nutrition Service on stretching your food dollars through budgeting and food selection.
According to Smith, “You have to know your food budget. Make a shopping list based on how much you have to spend and buy only the amounts of fresh foods you can use before they spoil. Consider frozen or shelf stable items that last longer and try to plan meals around what’s on sale”.
Smith offers insight on a few of the best buys for cost and nutrition:
Breads and Grains. Look for bargains on day old bread. It costs less but is still nutritious. Buy regular rice, oatmeal and grits instead of instant to save money, sugar and calories.
Vegetables and Salad. Buy large bags of frozen vegetables. Seal tightly in the freezer between uses. Avoid pre-bagged salad mixes. They are usually more expensive and spoil faster.
Fruits. Buy fresh fruits in season, when they generally cost less. Frozen and canned fruits are a smart choice all year round.
Low-Fat Milk Products. Buy fresh, low-fat milk in the largest size that can be used before spoiling. Larger containers cost less than smaller sizes. Ultra-pasteurized milk has a longer expiration date and won’t spoil as fast
Meat and Beans. Chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and is cheaper than sirloin.
Dried beans and peas are a good source of protein and fiber. They last a long time without spoiling.
Look for specials at the meat counter. Buy meat on sale for big savings. Buy meat in large bulk packages to save money. Freeze portions you won’t use right away to prevent spoiling.
If you are struggling to put food on the table, the USDA’s nutrition assistance programs may help. You may qualify for more than Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
OCES can help. Contact the Nutrition Department at OCES (508) 584-1561.
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is one of 27 private, non-profit Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services; Home Care and more.
OCES offers these programs in the towns of Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.
The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization.
In 2009, OCES was honored with the Metro-South Chamber of Commerce’s “Economic Impact Award”. The agency has 140 employees. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.