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Type 2 Diabetes on a Budget

If you have type 2 diabetes, you know the costs can add up quickly. However, it's possible to control your diabetes while staying within your budget. For example, you don't have to join a fancy gym to get started with an exercise program. At-home workouts are effective and affordable. What about medication, testing supplies, and healthy food? All of these can be purchased at a discount if you know where to look.

Is It Expensive to Have Type 2 Diabetes?

Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes can be an expensive medical condition to have. Test strips, medications, foods that won't raise your blood sugar -- all of these things can put a dent in your pocketbook. However, the good news is that it doesn't have to; there are ways to help manage your type 2 diabetes and still live within your financial means.
Because this condition can become expensive, some people may decide that it's not worth it to do what they need to do to control their type 2 diabetes. If you are concerned that you can't afford to effectively manage and control your diabetes, keeping reading! We've compiled a source of information on how to effectively treat type 2 diabetes on a budget.

Cost-Cutting Ways to Eat the Right Foods

In many cases, type 2 diabetes can be controlled at least in part by choosing the right foods and increasing physical activity. Many people are used to a fast-paced world, where food is convenient and can be grabbed on the run. In fact, the diets of most Americans do not meet the suggested dietary recommendations. One of the common explanations for this is the perception that healthier foods are more expensive than less healthy foods.
For those who have type 2 diabetes, food can be a challenge. Carbohydrates must be counted, meals may need to be planned at certain types during the day, and you need to pay close attention to what is in the food you are eating. Some people may be intimidated by the thought of having to prepare healthy meals, and possibly even more intimidated by how much those fresh and healthy foods cost.
However, healthy food does not have to break your budget. A study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found that the cheapest foods to eat (price per average portion size) are grains, followed by dairy, vegetables, fruit, protein, and last, high-calorie junk food.
Some tips for choosing low-cost healthy foods include the following:
  • Eat at home: Although this doesn't mean you can't eat out every now and then, eating at home can help you save some extra bucks. While it can take a little patience and practice, finding some recipes that you enjoy and that fit within your meal plan can make eating at home fall within your budget and your health goals.
  • Eat correct portion sizes: Whether you are at home or out for a meal, make sure to keep your portion sizes within your meal-plan goals. When eating out, this may mean only eating half a portion of what they serve you (see Eating Out With Type 2 Diabetes). Small plates, appetizers, and even child-sized portions are also budget-friendly options, and often healthier.

    When you are eating at home, you will learn what size your portions should be and, with practice, can stick to those portions without wasting extra food. If you make too much, you can freeze it for another meal.
  • Can't seem to make yourself waste food? Remember, cleaning your plate or eating extra servings doesn't save any money, unless the extra food you eat today means you'll eat less tomorrow. Otherwise, you're just expanding your waistline, not your pocketbook.
  • Keep an eye out for sales: You can plan out your meals based on the weekly sales at your grocery store.
  • Buy in bulk: There are a number of foods you can buy in bulk that can save you in the long run. For instance, calculate whether buying grains, meats, eggs, and other items in bulk would be cheaper per serving than those sold at the grocery store.
  • Look for boneless meats: Meat is usually sold based on weight, including the bone. Unless you are going to use the bones to make your own stock, the bones are not something you would use. Therefore, boneless cuts of meats can be less expensive, even though they seem to be more expensive at first. Keep in mind that bones often provide flavor and help keep meat moist, so if a recipe specifically calls for bone-in meat, you might not want to switch.
  • Look for items in season: Fresh fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy type 2 diabetes diet. However, these can be expensive. Watching for sales and looking for fruit that is in season can help you save money. Because of the importance of fruits and veggies in your diabetes diet, it may be worth it to splurge a little in this area if you need to.
  • Avoid overbuying: When you are shopping for your meals, try to just buy what you know you will need and be able to eat. Although a bucket of apples may be on sale, you may not eat all of them and they will go to waste.
  • Be careful with frozen fruits and veggies: Frozen fruits and veggies can be a good option and will keep for a long time. However, watch for those that are packaged with sugar or sauces, as they may cost more and are higher in calories.
  • Start a garden: From tomatoes to fresh herbs, having your own garden (even a small one) can help save some costs and also give you fresh, quality produce.
  • Be careful of gimmicks. You may come across foods that are advertised as "diabetic" foods. However, be careful, as these can be more expensive and may not add much to your diet that you couldn't do on your own.
Careful shopping and planning can play a key role in helping to keep those costs down. With a little practice, you will be able to budget your meals and still have a healthy diet to control your blood sugar levels.
Healthy Eating for People With Diabetes
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