How to Eat a Healthy Diet and Save Money
Almost every day we read or hear reports about the health benefits of eating fresh foods. More families these days make an effort to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and crackers, and lean meats and cheeses on a regular basis. More people avoid processed foods, which often contain extra preservatives, sugars, fats and unfamiliar chemicals. Consumers want to get back to the basics by eating natural foods that are grown or raised locally. Although it’s obviously a healthier way to eat, sticking with unprocessed foods is not necessarily less expensive. Whole, fresh foods often come with a higher price tag than canned, frozen, or other processed foods. It is possible, however, for smart shoppers to buy healthy items and trim their grocery bills at the same time.
Frozen fruits and vegetables have all the nutrients of fresh ones. In fact, frozen foods are usually frozen at the peak of their ripeness when they are the most nutrient dense. Why waste money by throwing away uneaten fresh veggies that have begun to spoil? Buy fresh only when you know none will be wasted, and whether cooking frozen or fresh vegetables, steam them to keep more nutrients intact during the cooking process.
When you do find a forgotten head of broccoli or bag of spinach hiding in the fridge, do something creative with it before it wilts instead of throwing it away. Cook the vegetable, add a bit of water and then toss it into the blender to make a puree. Freeze the puree to add to sauces or soups, a great way to hide necessary vegetables from fussy kids. A little extra effort will enhance your recipes and prevent waste.
Check the labels on items you buy often. You will find that store brand groceries often contain the same ingredients as their name-brand counterparts but their price tags are smaller. Why pay for brand recognition when there is no difference in quality? Store brands are also on sale on a regular basis. Stock up on items like cereal, juice, and other foods you eat on a regular basis.
Why pay top dollar for an item when a coupon allows you to pay less? Coupons are easy to locate and use, and they save you money. Check the flyer in your local newspaper, or get manufacturer coupons online. If your grocery store offers a savings club card, make sure to join for even more savings and to take advantage of special offers.
Watch for items that you buy regularly to go on sale. Many grocery stores offer great sales throughout the year. If you know certain foods won’t be wasted, then why not stock up? Grains, for example, last for a long time. You can freeze bread, and cereals have long shelf lives.
Plan your meals so you will buy only what you intend to eat for the week or month. Make a grocery list and vow to stick to it, but be flexible when it makes sense. For example, if you planned on eating squash for two meals, but broccoli is on sale, buy the broccoli instead.
Challenge yourself to save money every time you shop and you might be surprised to find that healthy foods can indeed fit into your budget. Visit Billeater.com for more tips on living well for less.