Every five years, a federal nutrition panel makes recommendations as to what Americans should and shouldn’t be eating. The latest report was just released, and while the main goal is make Americans healthier, you’re all but guaranteed to save money if you follow the recommendations.
The report’s executive summary lists these as recommended guidelines:
Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the US population by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
How this guideline will save you money: The obvious way to reduce calorie intake is to reduce the amount of food you eat—and buy. Also, there are tons of statistics showing that health care is far more expensive for the obese. Overall, obesity is said to add $147 annually to the national health care tab. On the personal level, if you’re healthier, you’ll need (and have to pay for) less medical attention.
Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.
How this guideline will save you money: Veggies, rice, beans, nuts, and most of the other “plant-based” foods almost always cost less than meat and dairy products. Cooking one or more meatless dinner a week has long been a favorite money-saving technique for many frugal cooks. Simply put: Less meat equals less money spent on food.
Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.
How this guideline will save you money: Foods prepared at restaurants—fast food joints especially—contain higher levels of sugars, fats, and salt than the meals typically cooked by folks in their own homes, especially if the ingredients you’re using in your kitchen aren’t of the highly processed variety. So, the easiest way to follow this guideline is to cook more at home—which obviously costs a lot less than going out to eat.
Also in the report’s summary is this bit of info:
A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans.
So if you’re basically healthy, you can save the money you might otherwise spend on vitamins—which amount to “expensive urine” because they neither help nor hurt as they work their way through the body.