Ten Low Cost Ways to be More Nutritious

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Posted on 03/14/2012

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is hoping you “get your plate in shape” during March, which is National Nutrition Month. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing good eating habits, which doesn’t have to mean a higher grocery bill. Check out these ten ways to be more nutritious on a budget.


Create a Food Budget If you don’t have one already, establish a food budget so you know what you should be spending for healthy food. Use the “Spend Smart Eat Smart” calculator from Iowa State University. It will help you get an estimate on food costs based on the US Department of Agriculture’s Low-Cost Food Plan.


Just Add Beans
Meat is one of the most expensive products at the grocery store, but you can easily swap it out for beans, a cheaper alternative. Add them to casseroles, pasta dishes or stews for a protein and fiber boost.


Buy Canned
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests saving money by purchasing canned fruits and vegetables, especially if you want something that is not in season. It’s a great way to get more food for your dollar.


Drink Water
Bottled water can be expensive, but what comes out of your tap is free. Run it through a filter and you have a virtually no-cost beverage that will help your body function better without adding sugar or unnecessary calories.


Avoid Convenience
If you buy a head of lettuce, chances are you’ll pay less than the pre-cut bag and you’ll end up with more greens. Chopping lettuce is easy and doesn’t take much time at all.


Shop Produce in Season
Most fruits and veggies have a season. That’s the time of year when they are most plentiful and therefore, most affordable. Check out this free Seasonal Chart for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables from Fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov to help you navigate the produce department.


Use Concentrate
Fruit juice can be expensive, but it’s a good way to consumer certain vitamins. Instead buy 100% juice from frozen concentrate and mix it with water yourself. It’s much less expensive per serving than bottled juice.


Freeze Rather than Toss
You might be surprised just how much food can be frozen in order to increase its shelf life. If you can’t use your fruits and veggies, freeze them until you’re ready to consume them.


Find Coupons for Healthy Items
Coupons exist for healthy products too. Check out sites like WholeFoods.com or MamboSprouts.com for printable coupons on organic, gluten-free and other natural products.


Compare Costs at Farmers Markets
Produce may come cheaper at the local farmers market than it does at your grocery store. Compare the costs and find out where you can score the best deals.


By Alison Storm


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