NWPC Blog

How Healthy Eating Impacts Portland’s Residents

American’s are hyper focused on health. While 75 percent of Americans say they eat healthy, 80 percent are not eating the recommended number of fruit and vegetables. Discerning between “health” foods and what is good for you gets more challenging as companies refine marketing according to people’s priorities to deceive them about the contents of their products.

A healthy diet and exercise are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, and in this piece, we’ll discuss strategies to stay healthy in Portland; including grocery shopping, selecting foods, and integrating healthy eating into your schedule so you and your family have the right options to stay healthy and happy regardless of budget or location.

In a health-conscious community like Portland, eating healthy may seem easy, but busy schedules and delicious restaurants can make it hard to regularly prepare healthy meals at home. In Portland, consumers have a variety of options from Farmer’s Markets and specialty health stores to traditional grocery stores to purchase their food.

Finding healthy options can seem difficult, but utilizing key strategies to ensure you can identify which foods you should be buying for the right price point can seem daunting. Below we’ve outlined three tips to help you make great choices at the grocery store without breaking the bank:

  1. Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store. Instead of delving into the aisles where processed foods and prepared items are often located, using the edge of the grocery store as a guide can help you find fresh healthy produce, proteins, and grains.
  2. Utilize bulk bins if your grocery store has them. Instead of using excess packaging and quantities that aren’t perfect for you, bulk bins let you save money and reduce waste.
  3. Make a list – both of what you need to shop for and what you’re making. A meal plan helps define what you’ll be cooking that week as well as ensuring you avoid extra trips to the grocery store.
  4. Be selective about organic produce. While organic is often healthier, knowing which produce and products really matter in this department can help you save money. Here’s a quick list to keep in mind.
  5. Make sure you’re reading the label. While things may be packaged in a way that makes them appear healthier, just because it’s organic or low fat doesn’t mean it’s healthier. Get the details on reading a label here so you know what to look out for.
  6. If you’re on a budget, frozen fruits and veggies are a life saver – especially if you’re looking for things that aren’t in season. Know what’s in season in Oregon with this chart.
  7. Plan ahead and buy in larger quantities. If your family loves chili, double the recipe and have leftovers for another meal you can freeze. This saves time and money.

Okay, so you have all the healthy food… how are you going to make time to cook it? While we all live busy lives, cooking at home is almost always healthier than going out and is much more economical. Even if you’re taking care of a family or living a busy lifestyle making time one day a week to make a batch of freezer meals or spending time cooking with your family are easy ways to help you incorporate healthy eating and cooking into your routine. Invite your family into the kitchen, whether it’s a child making a side salad to go with the main dish or having a playdate once a week where you’re able to stay home and cook, these ideas can set you up for success.