Healthy Eating on a Budget

It's a fact‚- people living in lower income areas are more likely to be obese than their high income counterparts. We all know how hard it can be to make ends meet these days. But today, we are debunking the myth that healthy eating has to be expensive. Below, we've outlined some smart ways to make your dollars stretch while still eating healthy. And whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it too?

·It can't be said enough‚- buy in bulk. Foods like grains (brown rice, whole grain pasta) and all canned foods (especially tomatoes‚- you'll be shocked at the many uses of the canned tomato) have long shelf lives. Other unexpected finds like oatmeal and lentils keep for quite some time as well. Stock up on the staples, buying in bulk is far cheaper than single-serving sizes.

·While we're on the topic of doing things in bulk‚- cook in bulk and freeze the extras in single serving sizes. Not only will this help you control your portions, but it will also save you a TON of money on take-out lunches at work or school.

·Always buy seasonal produce. Depending on the time of year, there's always a bargain to be had in the produce department. Fight the mango craving in the dead of winter and you'll save a bundle.

·Buy ethnic foods at the ethnic shops rather than the grocery store. This little tip will help your wallet and your taste buds‚- the real deal is almost always better than the grocery store version.

·Plan your meals ahead of time and don't be caught off guard. If you know exactly what you are going to need for the whole week, you won't buy needless items because you aren't sure what you're having. Also, this gives you the opportunity to browse the different grocery store fliers to figure out which items to buy at which stores.

·Avoid pre-packaged, convenience foods. This includes the snack size versions of things as well as frozen dinners. Instead, buy a large bag and divide it into portion size baggies as soon as you get home and freeze portion size leftover dinners to be eaten when you're in a hurry.

·Learn to read the unit cost. Most stores will show the unit cost of a given product in equal terms. For instance, two price labels might read:

Chicken Broth,794 mL, $1.69 / Unit cost per 100mL = $0.23
Chicken Broth, 540 mL, $1.09 / Unit cost per 100mL = $0.202

The lower the cost, the better the deal.

Remember, don't let a tight budget prevent you from a healthy lifestyle. You can do this!

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