You can afford to buy and eat healthy foods during tough times. Our desire to feed our family healthy foods is sometimes challenged by budgetary concerns over the cost of healthier foods. Here are some great tips on how you can streeeeeetch your dollar:
Portion Control: Yes, portion control, not only can proper portions help you minimize overeating, it can save you money on uneaten food. One recent recent report said that we can waste up to 30% of our food because we cook too much and many times throw away what is left on our plates. But for those who tend to clear their over portioned plates…the savings may also include your health.
Fruits & Vegetables: Of course fresh is preferable, however, when not in season or on sale, many times fresh can be expensive. So consider frozen which has some good benefits. Flash-frozen fruits and vegetables retain many of their nutrients that are many times lost with fresh produce when it spends too much time on the shelf or in the truck on the way to your store. The other benefit is that frozen will not spoil.
Private Label or Store Brands:These are not you mother’s private label products of the past, in many cases store brands are equal or better in quality than many of the national brands; in many cases, the national brands produce the store brands. And, for those who prefer organics, you’ll now find many organic store brands.
Buy Local: There is a resurgence of farmers markets around the country, and most carry locally grown produce that is in season. Check around for a farmers market or produce stand in your area, you might find some great produce and prices.
Bulk Up: That’s right, Costco, Sams & BJ’s offer some great values…provided you don’t get carried away. For fresh meat, poultry, and fish buying in bulk, individually wrapping portions, and placing them in your freezer is a great way to save. Also, many natural food stores offer some products such as oatmeal in bulk that are a better value than the same thing in a package.
Play the Game: First off, it always make sense to shop the ads and clip those coupons; but, that sometimes can be a time-consuming process. One way to make this easier and get the best of both worlds is the Grocery Game (www.grocerygame.com) where for a few dollars you can save a ton. They do the work for you by matching up a stores weekly specials with the coupons available in your Sunday newspaper, and the savings can be remarkable. Don’t veer away from healthy just for the savings, if what you know is right to eat is not on sale, take the savings from non-food items and apply the difference to healthier foods. Here are some more sites that can help save you money:
Shop Online: But wait a minute, doesn’t that cost money? Well yes, generally around $10, however, you may come out ahead by skipping the impulse purchases and by being able to shop the specials online when you may miss them in-store. In most cases you may also use your coupons without having to shuffle through them while you are shopping and you’ll save on gas.
Value Protein: Protein does not always take the shape of meat, poultry or fish. Less costly alternatives are available in nuts, beans, tofu, peanut butter (watch out for peanut butters with hydrogenated oils in most national brands) and eggs. The old reliable PB&J sandwich is a great way for kids to get protein, just substitute the “J” for the pure fruit alternative.