Economical Eating by the RDs at SkinnyandtheCity.com

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Can you watch your wallet and your waistline at the same time? Absolutely! Eating right should never be a luxury. Follow our guidelines on how to save money in all the major food groups while stocking up on healthy goods!

Water

Buy a reusable water bottle Replace bottled water with tap or filtered water depending on your preference and buy an aluminum reusable bottle to keep you hydrated on the go. If you’re not satisfied with the taste of the tap water in your area, invest in a water filter like Brita. One 12oz bottle of water is about $2.00; if you buy one bottle everyday that is $14 a week ($728 a year). With one purchase you will save yourself $715 this year! Plus you’ll be steering clear from Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound found in those plastic bottles, which may leech into your drinking water. Studies have shown that BPA exposure has been linked to a wide variety of illnesses such as breast cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Fruits and Veggies

Hit up the freezer section Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh produce. They can also be stored for up to one year, so if you don’t eat them all at once you won’t waste them. Going frozen will save you money and not compromise your diet. Fresh blueberries now cost around for $3.99 for a 4.4oz package, whereas you can get an 8oz bag of Cascadian Farm Organic Frozen Blueberries for $4.79. By buying frozen you save $.30/oz which can really add up. Look for deals too, most grocery stores offer large packs of frozen fruits and vegetables at bulk for just a few dollars.

Don’t buy precut fruits and vegetables If you do, you are paying for the added costs of labor or cutting and the container it’s coming in. For example, a small container of cut-up cantaloupe might run you $3.99. Instead you can buy the entire cantaloupe, which provides twice as much edible fruit for $3.00. Also, choose a large bag of fruit (like apples, oranges or pears) instead of the single, large fruits priced per pound.

Protein

Buy leaner cuts of meat and fish: Fattier cuts of meat tend to be more expensive than lean ones. For example, you can get a pound of sirloin for $4.99 whereas rib eye costs you at least $9.99/lb. Try tilapia which is a very lean fish and costs about $8.99/lb. In addition, canned fishes like tuna and salmon are less expensive than fresh fish and very healthy. They’re rich in protein and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to buy the fish canned in water rather than oil to avoid excess fat before preparation.

Eggs and dairy

Both are economical sources of protein that our body can use very efficiently: The cost of which is much lower than beef or any meat products. Eat vegetarian 1-2 nights/week to save a little extra for your summer spending. If you’re concerned about the fat or cholesterol content of the egg yolk, use one full egg and two egg whites in your omelet. When it comes to dairy, choose low-fat cottage cheese or reduced-fat versions of cheese and milk. Yogurt is also a good source of protein and calcium and most kinds contain probiotics — healthy bacteria that may boost your immune system. Buy plain yogurt and mix in your own fruit to save money. And though those individual serving sizes are convenient, they’re often more expensive. Buy your yogurt in the 32-ounce size and dish it into reusable containers if you’re packing it for lunch. A can of beans is also a great source of protein and only costs 99 cents, which can easily feed two people!

Starches and grains

Brown rice Turns out, brown rice is also inexpensive and much better for you. Unprocessed grain is rich in many important minerals such as manganese, selenium, and magnesium as well as B vitamins (B12, B6, B3, etc.) and fiber. Add it to your frozen-veggie stir-fry or cook it as a side to chicken or fish. Whole wheat pasta and Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta are also great sides for meals. These pastas are much higher in B vitamins, folate, and fiber than white pasta and will last your family a good while. And don’t forget sweet potatoes! They’re another healthy dish — rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and carotenoids — that won’t do too much damage to your wallet.

General Tips

Buy generic: Generic brands can save you a lot! Typically, generic brands are labeled as the store brand. Whether it’s canned, bagged or frozen the product usually contains the same exact nutritional value as the name brand

Make your own snacks: Portion controlled products have exploded on the market and while they may be helpful to minimize overindulging, you don’t need to pay for the packaging. But your own snacks and pre pack appropriate portion sizes in re-sealable plastic bags. Try buying the larger sizes of chips, raisins, applesauce and portion them out into individual servings. You can use sandwich baggies or get some small tupperware containers that you can reuse to reduce waste!

Article provided by Rachel Berman of SkinnyandtheCity.com

Rachel Berman RD, CD/N is the VP of Operations for SkinnyandtheCity.com, which offers a free newsletter with valuable nutrition information daily to your inbox.

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