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7 WAYS TO SHOP HEALTHY ON A BUDGET
With a little know-how and advance planning, you can enjoy nutritious foods while sticking to a tight budget.
Plan around Sales—The key to smart, budget-friendly grocery shopping is to plan ahead for the week. Plan meals around fresh produce, lean proteins and low-fat dairy items that are on sale to save money while eating healthy. Check store sale flyers, and then check available coupons on the same items for additional savings. Compare national brands and private store labels for the lowest price.
Create a shopping List—Use your weekly meal plan to create a master grocery list, and stick to it. Prioritize your food dollars for nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, lean protein and whole grains. To keep your grocery list from growing too long, prepare meals that include similar ingredients throughout the week.
In the Produce Section—When it comes to vegetables and fruits, shop seasonally. Seasonal produce is at its peak flavor and is generally more abundant, so it’s sold at a lower price. Frozen vegetables and fruits are comparable in nutritional quality to fresh, but avoid those that have added sugars or salt.
Considering Organic—For those interested in organically-grown produce, refer to “Clean 15”—items with the lowest levels of pesticide residues.
At the Meat Counter—Purchase a larger quantity of meat that is on sale, and prepare enough for two or more meals. Enjoy left-overs later in the week or freeze for future use. Plan a meatless meal several times each week, or try replacing half the meat in dishes such as chili, meatloaf or burger patties with beans or chopped vegetables.
Grains and Dry Goods—Whole grains and dried beans are generally inexpensive and are an easy way to get more nutrition for your buck. Stock up on these nonperishable items when on sale.
Reduce Waste—Once you’ve done your shopping, make the most of your food spending by cutting down on waste. Plan to use highly perishable items—such as fish and seafood, salad greens, berries and fresh herbs—early in the week. Enjoy leftovers for lunch or create new meals from leftover ingredients. Cooked meat and vegetables can be revamped as a filling for a casserole, frittata or soup.