Five things you can do to eat healthier on a tight budget

Inflation is straining household budgets but there are many low-cost, nutritious and tasty food options that health clinicians can explore with patients as part of a lifestyle medicine treatment plan.

Inflation is forcing more people to make difficult decisions about how to spend their money.

Food prices rose by 10 percent from May 2021 to May 2022, the first double-digit increase over a one-year period since 1981. High prices for gasoline, housing and other goods combined to further strain household finances, and increased demand is reported at food banks. As a result, many Americans who never considered the price of food are now cutting back on healthy food purchases as a strategy to make ends meet, said Marianna Wetherill, PhD, MPH, RDN/LD, DipACLM, who specializes in nutrition care for people affected by food insecurity.

There are many low-cost, nutritious food options that providers can explore with patients as part of a lifestyle medicine treatment plan but in general, Wetherill shares that there are five basic changes she shares with her patients to make in the way they shop and eat, to help them get started.

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This brief will 1) evaluate the promise of, and need for, health equity; 2) explain what lifestyle medicine is and why it is high- value care; 3) share how provider organizations can deliver lifestyle medicine both through their own processes and through community partnerships; and 4) present some of the challenges to widespread adoption of lifestyle medicine and how those challenges can be addressed.

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