Eat Better, Spend Less
Simple Saving TechniquesMake a slick swap.
Yes, olive oil is heart healthy, but it's also costly. Save it for when flavor really counts, as in salads, and use canola oil for cooking. "It's much less expensive, and it gives you healthy monounsaturated fats as well as a dose of omega-3 fatty acids," says Erin Palinski, RD, a nutritionist in Franklin, New Jersey.Stick close to home.
You can find bargains on fruits and vegetables grown locally -- and they're typically treated with fewer pesticides, too. Go to farmers' markets late in the day for the best prices. "Most growers will do two-for-one deals when they're ready to pack up," says Latham Thomas, a nutrition counselor and the founder of Tender Shoots Wellness in New York City. Also, consider joining a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program, which gives you a weekly or biweekly box of produce from a nearby farm for a flat fee. If you can't use the whole box yourself, split it -- and the cost -- with a friend or neighbor.Fish for good deals.
Despite the hoopla about fresh wild-caught salmon -- which is rich in DHA, a type of healthy omega-3 fatty acid -- it isn't your only option in the sea. "All fish have DHA," points out Mary Harris, RD, PhD, professor of food science and human nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. "Some types have more than others, but the most important thing is to buy the kind of fish you like and aim to eat it once or twice a week." Tell the clerk to throw in a marinade while you're at it. Most grocery-store seafood counters will give you one free, but you have to ask.Bulk up.
Check the bins in the bulk section of your supermarket for healthy staples such as almonds, oatmeal, grains, and dried beans. You can purchase the exact amount you need, usually for a lot less than the packaged versions.Save time -- and money.
The right equipment can cut your food prep and cook time in half, says Jill Nussinow, author of The Veggie Queen. That makes it a whole lot easier to create healthy dishes. Consider investing in these genius kitchen tools:
Food Processor: Make quick work of slicing and dicing and avoid the temptation to purchase precut veggies, "which can cost five to 10 times more," Nussinow says. (About $135 for a nine-cup food processor at amazon.com)
Pressure Cooker: It cooks grains and dried beans in a flash. Think lentil soup in 20 minutes, start to finish. (About $60 at jcpenney.com)
Rice Steamer: Just set it and forget it. No more pots of boiled-over or burned rice. (About $40 at bedbathandbeyond.com)
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