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Tips & Tricks for Eating on a Budget

If I had a dime for every time a person told me that eating healthy is “too expensive”, I’d be rich!

I’ve come to realize that healthy food does not need to be expensive but food marketers spend a lot of money to get consumers to believe that cost is associated with health.

Undoubtedly, the cost of groceries and dining out has gone up with reduced workforce, inflation and increased cost of gas. Surprisingly, there are several ways to save money at the table and I can share them with you in this post!

Let’s put things in perspective for a minute. Is an organic orange any more nutritious (and worth the cost) than a conventionally grown orange?

Organic produce may have lower levels of pesticide residuals compared to conventionally grown produce, though you’d most probably need to consume a very high amount of standard fruits and vegetables to reach the maximum amounts of pesticides to cause harm.

Since roughly about 9 out of 10 people don’t meet the suggested intake of fruits and vegetables, eating more of ANY fruit or vegetable is more important than choosing organic. This includes fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. Purchase canned without any salt and frozen without any added sugar or sauces.

When organic matters:

Organic meat and dairy products may be worth the extra cost due to the use of antibiotics in beef, poultry and dairy cows. Use of growth hormones is not allowed in pork or poultry, but antibiotics used to treat infections are allowed.

Exposure to antibiotic-treated animals may increase the risk of antibiotic resistance in humans. To reduces this exposure as well as cost, organic meat and dairy products may be purchased on a rotating basis, or consumption can be decreased.

Organic meat and dairy have also been found to be higher in omega-3-fatty acids than conventional animal products. Consuming salmon or other fatty fish, flaxseeds or walnuts would result in higher intake of omega-3-fats.

So, you’re probably wondering how can you eat healthy and still follow a budget?

Here are a few tips:

1. Get things on sale. You don’t have to be physically in the store to see the store flyer. Check for bargains online before you head out the door.
2. Buy seasonal produce. Strawberries are available in your grocery all year round, but they’re least expensive (and taste the best) during strawberry season.
3. Make a list and purchase only what you need. Ignore the temptation to use coupons for processed food.
4Make more meatless meals. Rather than buying organic meat often, buy less meat in general. Stock your pantry with canned or bagged beans and lentils to use for soup, stew or pasta.
5. DIY– Chop your own salads instead of buying them bagged. Purchase fruit in its whole form and prep it yourself.
6. Look for “woohoo” bargains at large grocers like Kroger. These are foods nearing their expiration date but are still high quality.
7. Purchase store brand items over big brands. Unless there is a specific brand you must have, it’s unlikely that the store brand of ketchup, mustard, rolled oats or bread is inferior.
8. Store apples and citrus fruit in a Ziplock bag in the fridge. This extends their shelf life so less is tossed out.
9. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables for variety and to extend shelf life. These are just as nutritious and can be used in several different dishes.
10. Eat less overall food! An easy way to spend less is to reduce excess snacking and large portions. Most people require less food as they age and every day, we get a little bit older.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.

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