Saturday, January 24, 2009

7 diet tips from ‘Loser’ nutritionist

Even on a good day, a nutritionist hears complaints about how much more expensive it is to eat healthy. I decided this is the perfect time to share ideas on how to eat healthy without breaking your food budget. Incorporating a few of these tips into your weekly routine can really save you some dough.

Buy in bulk
Bulk items are usually cheaper. That’s because there’s no expensive packaging included. Those savings are passed directly on to you. You also have the freedom to choose how much or how little to buy each time. Best buys include whole grains, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and cereals. Some health food stores sell spices in bulk as well.

Go seasonal
Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sometimes imported, expensive and often tasteless. Plan menus and choose recipes around what's currently in season. You’ll enjoy better flavor AND lower prices, especially at this time of year.

Shop locally
Local grocers carry plenty of regional produce. Farmers markets are a great source for healthy bargains too. For the best deals, shop often and look for end-of-the-day specials.

Grow your own
Slash your spending even further by supplementing your produce purchases with homegrown items. If you don’t have space for a garden, you can at least grow your own herbs. Plant your favorites in small pots near the kitchen. Take a snip or two as needed.

Make it from scratch
Yes, it takes more time, but preparing a dish at home rather than picking up a pre-made version can save up to 50% or more. It also ensures your dish is healthier because you dictate the amount of oil or salt it contains. And best of all, this guarantees no hidden preservatives.

Shop the outer aisles
In most markets you'll find the healthiest ingredients on the perimeter of the store — fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins including fish and chicken, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products. The inner aisles contain most of the processed foods, including soda, candy, chips and snack foods. Aside from the fact that they contain empty calories, they also take a big (and unnecessary) bite from your food budget.

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