Kidney Diet Tips

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3 Ways to Add Up the Grocery Savings

The checkout line at the grocery store can be a source of frustration, especially when the dollar signs keep adding up and the dreaded total is near. However, there are three easy ways to cut costs every time you shop while still following the diet that is right for you.

First, buy in season. Look for seasonal fruits and vegetables that fit within your prescribed diet. Typically, in season produce is on display in the front of the produce department. If you have questions about what is in season, talk to an associate or the produce manager at your local grocer. Also The United States Department of Agriculture has many online resources on the topic seasonal produce. However, when the seasons change, frozen and canned produce are more economical go-to options. For example, in early March at a Michigan grocery store fresh peaches were $2.99 per pound ($0.19 per ounce), while a 14.25-ounce can of peaches with no added sugar was $2.19 ($0.15 per ounce). For a healthier option, remember to limit the sodium by choosing frozen vegetables without added sauces or salt, and canned vegetables in low or no added salt varieties. If you need to limit your potassium intake, be sure to avoid potassium additives too, like potassium chloride. Additionally, DaVita.com offers many renal-friendly recipes that utilize fresh, frozen and canned produce so you can easily be inspired no matter the season.

Second, take a closer look and compare unit prices. Have you ever looked at the small tag under the grocery item to see more than just the price? Next time you are at the store, take a look because most tags also contain a unit price. Unit prices easily allow you to identify the price per ounce, per pint, or per pound making comparison-shopping much easier. For example, Greek yogurt can be purchased in an individual 5.3-ounce container for approximately $1.39 ($0.26 per ounce) or a 32-ounce tub of the same variety of Greek yogurt for $6.49 ($0.20 per ounce). Bigger is not always better, but in this case it is. Just remember, that dollars are only saved if you are able to use all you buy, so do think twice before buying in bulk.

Third, do not pay someone else to do the prep work. Ready-to-eat foods may be convenient, but will not save you money. It will take a few extra minutes to prepare your produce or divide your whole chicken but your wallet will reap the benefits. For comparison, a two-pound bag of cut and peeled baby carrots will cost roughly $1.99 ($1.00 per pound), while a three-pound bag of whole carrots will run you $2.29 ($0.76 per pound). The bag of whole carrots is a better deal so be sure to have your peeler on hand.

Do the math. It is worth it. For more budget tips read “Budget Meals on the Dialysis Diet.”

Melanie Wierda, RD, CSR

Melanie Wierda, RD, CSR

Melanie is thrilled to start her blogging journey with DaVita. She has been a dietitian for over three years. In her free time, she enjoys running, visiting the local farmers' market and volunteering with a local nutrition education program.