Eating Healthy on a Budget Is Possible Find Out How Now

Eating healthy is a struggle for many older adults, due to high food prices, fixed incomes and physical limitations, which can make shopping and cooking a challenge.  Furthermore, with too little food or too much processed food such as salty canned soups or fatty frozen dinners, chronic conditions worsen and make eating healthy a challenge. In this article you will find valuable information, showing you it is possible to eat healthy within your budget.

Facts  You Should Know

“It is not unusual to find seniors eating cereal for dinner,” said Jennifer Hinson, the nutrition services manager at Lifelong, a nonprofit group that offers programs to people living with chronic conditions. Unfortunately,  many seniors will frequently run out of food before the end of the month, too often resulting in a poor diet.

Unfortunately, there is a reluctance among low-income older adults to use Food Stamps.  However, the use of Food Stamps could help improve the quality of eating and improve health, thus improving allover quality of life. Nationally, only a third of people age 60 and older, who qualify for the assistance program, are enrolled.  So please consider finding out if you qualify for this and other government programs for seniors.  Bear in mind, there is no shame attached to accepting government help.

Eating Healthy Ideas

To improve food availability among older people, the AARP Foundation awarded nearly $2 million in Hunger Innovation Grants this year to 10 programs nationwide that go beyond food banks.

However, Food Bank staples help provide ingredients for eating healthy meals which can be prepared simply and take nutrition, fiber, fat and salt into account. There are recipes that use easy-to-find ingredients and common food bank staples such as oats and beans.  Dishes range from familiar standards, such as spaghetti sauce with three ingredients – tomatoes-onions and garlic, to quinoa which is rich in minerals and vitamins or whole wheat pasta.

Flavor is Everything

It’s easy to fall into bad habits as you age, however, you don’t want to eat boring, bland health foods either. Those who are on low salt diets may like substitutes such as Mrs. Dash.  Personally  I like the original, however, there are a variety of combinations. This is where herbs can enhance the flavor of your food without adding sugar or fat.

The use of herbs to flavor food is great, however, fresh or dried herbs can be expensive, but there’s a way to get around that. By growing them in small pots in your kitchen, you will cut down on expenses and enjoy them year round.  Moreover, you don’t even need to purchase pots. You can plant seeds by putting small rocks or pebbles in the bottom of a container for good drainage or even a tea cup that’s not used, put soil in and plant the seed. In addition, old egg cartons are a great way to start the seeds growing and then transplant them into your containers. The seeds can be purchased at a local nursery, Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe’s Hardware stores,  or other local hardware stores like ACE.

Other Resource Ideas

Some Senior Citizen Centers have classes on nutritional cooking, which is a great way to try new things and to eat better, lose weight and help you eat more vegetables. As for healthy produce, that is pricey at the food store, try your Farmers Market.  Frequently they are lower in price at your local Farmers Market.

Eating Healthy with Some of The Most Nutritional Foods:

 greens: romaine, kale, raw spinach and collards
 carrots
 Brussels sprouts
 peppers
 squash
 sweet potatoes (yams)
 celery
 avocado
 green beans
 peas
 asparagus
 parsley
 onions
 garlic
 broccoli
 all berries
 cantaloupe
 all melons
 bananas
 mangoes
 grapefruit
 oranges
 grapes
 pineapple
 cranberries
 apples
Nuts (raw)
 almonds
 walnuts
 cashews
 brazil
Seeds (raw)
 flax
 sunflower
 pumpkin
 sesame
 oats
 millet
 quinoa
 buckwheat
 spelt
 barley
 wheat
 chick peas
 black-eyed peas
 black beans
 pinto beans
 small white beans
Fats (Healthy)
 avocado oil
 flax oil
 pumpkin oil
 olive oil
Animal Products
 wild Pacific sockeye salmon
 skinless chicken breasts
 free range eggs
 yogurt
 goat’s cheese
 cottage cheese
Natural sweeteners
 molasses
 unpasteurized honey
 frozen juice concentrates
 blended dates and raisins

Year Round Gardening Check List

Gardening for many is a year-round pastime set to the rhythms of the seasons. While the timing of tasks varies from region to region, California Bountiful’s gardening expert, Pat Rubin, offers the following as a general checklist.
• Prune fruit trees and clean up all debris around the base of
the trees. Apply new mulch.
• Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies, yarrow, ornamental grasses
and other perennials.
• Direct seed peas, radishes, lettuce and spinach in the vegetable
• Spray apricot trees to prevent brown rot. If you haven’t
applied a dormant spray, do so before buds start to swell.
• Trim damaged wood from fruit trees.
• Prune clematis vines.
• Give the inside of the house a lift: Cut branches of early spring
flowering shrubs and bring them indoors. Try forsythia, cherry,
crab-apple, whatever you see blooming.
• Plant (either seeds or purchased plants) snapdragons, Shasta
daisy, bleeding heart and stock.
• In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke,
strawberries and rhubarb. Direct seed radishes, beets and
chard. Start peppers and tomatoes indoors.
• Camellias and azaleas are in bloom. Choose the ones you like
best for your garden.
• Prune and fertilize spring flowering shrubs after bloom.
• Feed camellias, roses, annual flowers and berries with a slowrelease
• Keep pulling weeds.
• Aphids? Hose them off with a strong, but fine spray of water
or use insecticidal soap.
• Watch for signs of slugs and earwigs. Handpick at night or
use bait. Make sure to use one that is not toxic to pets and
• Shop for citrus trees.
• Over-seed bare spots in the lawn.
• The first flush of bloom for roses is this month. Now is a good
time to shop for them. Feed roses and make sure they are
watered. Watch for mildew.
• Once all chance of frost is past, start seedlings in the garden.
Easy ones to start outside in the garden include cucumbers,
summer squash, winter squash and beans.
• Look around for containers filled with water, as these can be
breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Dump the water.
• Prune early blooming shrubs—lilacs, forsythia, azalea, quince,
weigela—after they bloom.
• Plant citrus now.
• Transplant tomatoes, eggplant and peppers into the garden
as weather warms. Keep row cover handy in case of cold
• Direct seed beets, chard and radishes in the garden.
Plant dahlia tubers.
• Check sprinklers to make sure they are covering the ground
• Start feeding houseplants on a monthly basis now through October.
• Flower seeds to plant include cornflower, four o’clocks,
marigolds, sunflowers and zinnias.
• Deadhead perennials. Groom and stake them as needed.
• Break off old flowers on rhododendrons just above the growth
• Direct seed melons, cucumber, summer squash, corn and beans.
• Mulch around plants to conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a
small circle of bare soil around each plant.
• Fertilize vegetables monthly.
• Pinch back petunias and fuchsias to encourage bushier growth
and more flowers.
• Keep your lawnmower set at the highest blade setting. This
helps the lawn conserve water.
• Water early in the day to conserve water.
• Set mower blades to highest setting; this also conserves water.
• Plant snap beans, lima beans, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers,
squash and tomato plants.
• Fertilize camellias and azaleas.
• Deadhead roses to encourage new blooms.
• Cut cannas to the ground after they bloom and they’ll send up
new stems and bloom again.
• Fertilize citrus.
• Prune oleanders after bloom.
• Pinch back dahlias and mums to encourage new growth for
bushier plants with more blooms.

• Prune wisteria now to keep plants under control and for
bigger blooms next spring. Tie some of the strappy stems to
support and encourage them to grow where you want them.
Cut the rest back to within 6 inches of the main branches.
• Wondering when corn is ripe? Silk will start to dry up and
kernels of corn, if pressed with a fi ngernail, will release a milky
• Clean up fallen fruit, vegetables and fl owers around plants to
head off future pest problems.
• Cut back Mexican evening primrose for a second fl ush of
bloom in late summer.
• Watch berry vines: Canes that produced fruit need to be cut
down at the end of the season; they won’t bear fruit again.
• Divide and replant irises.
• Plant a second crop of corn, beans and radishes.
• Keep harvesting vegetables and deadhead fl owers so the
garden keeps producing.
• Give fruit trees a deep watering. Prune if necessary.
• Fertilize fruit and nut trees.
• Add organic matter to the soil before planting winter
• Fertilize camellias, azaleas and gardenias with chelated iron if
leaves are yellow.
• Feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants.
• Pinch back mums for more blooms this fall.
• Plant native bulbs: ornamental onion (Allium
unifolium), globe lily (Calochortus albus) and mission bells
(Fritillaria bifl ora).
• Sow seeds of poppies, clarkia and lupine.
• Dig, divide and replant overgrown perennials as they fi nish
• Now is the best time to sow a new lawn or reseed bare spots.
• Watch for snails. Handpick.
• Add compost to vegetable garden.
• Plant onions and garlic before frost.
• Begin planting cool season annuals like ornamental cabbage,
kale, pansy, primrose and sweet peas.
• Plant cool season vegetables like broccoli, chard, caulifl ower,
lettuce and spinach.
• Apply chelated iron to azaleas, gardenias and camellias if
leaves are yellow.
• Clean up the summer garden and compost the remains.
• In high-elevation areas, dig up gladiolus, dahlias and begonias
after the foliage dies. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for the
• Keep trimming roses.
• Give houseplants a rest. Withhold fertilizer until spring. If
plants have been outside, hose them off before bringing
indoors for the winter.
• To protect citrus from brown rot, keep leaves and fallen fruit
picked up. Prune lower branches to 24 inches above ground.
This prevents fungus spores from splashing up from the
• Plant daffodils over a three- to four-week period for a long
blooming season next spring.
• Chrysanthemums show up in nurseries this month, and they
are spectacular. Choose ones just beginning to bloom for the
longest display in your garden or on your patio.
• Plant cool season annuals: calendula, snapdragons, pansies
and Iceland poppies.
• Fertilize the lawn with a winter-type fertilizer; stop fertilizing
• Cut rose canes back about 1/3 to keep plants from breaking in
winter storms. Prune away dead and weak branches in shrubs
and trees.
• Clean up fallen leaves and spent fl owers around your plant to
prevent overwintering insects.
• For larger blooms, thin camellia buds.
• Don’t prune evergreen shrubs or citrus.
• Watch for bare root plants in nurseries: fruit trees, roses, berries,
vines, shrubs, grapes, artichokes, horseradish, strawberries,
rhubarb and more.
• Pot paper white bulbs in pots to give as gifts.
• Later this month, spray peaches and nectarines with lime
sulfur, copper sulfate or fi xed copper to control peach leaf
• Cut chrysanthemums to about 8 inches after they bloom.
• If you’re using a living Christmas tree, keep it outside until
just before Christmas, making sure it is well-watered before
bringing it inside.
• Give gardenias, azaleas and camellias chelated iron if leaves
are turning yellow.