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Shopping Tips for the Frozen FoodiePam Schumacher, 45, Briarcliff Manor, New York
Like a lot of women, Pam struggles to eat healthfully while feeding a family of picky eaters. Her solution: Prepare one dinner for her kids, ages 11, 8, and 5, then a separate meal for herself and her husband. One or two nights a week everyone eats the same thing -- usually a frozen pizza or a spaghetti and premade turkey meatball dinner. Because she's making so many different dishes, Pam relies heavily on heat-and-eat foods, which aren't always the most nutritious choice.Her Go-To Groceries
Frozen pizza, yogurt, cereal, 100-calorie packs, steam-in-the-bag frozen vegetables, frozen creamed spinach, chicken sausage, ice cream, flavored nondairy creamerBetter Grocery Buys
Grilled chicken sausage with veggies is a staple in Pam's house, but it's made with fatty chicken-thigh meat. Swapping it for boneless, skinless chicken breasts (on sale for two for the price of one) will save her money and trim nearly 6 grams of fat.
Pick the Right Pie
Pam was about to buy a couple of frozen pizzas. We suggested Stop & Shop's Nature's Promise Organic Pizza, which was on sale. It's made from at least 95 percent organic ingredients, meaning the cheese has no added hormones and is free of synthetic antibiotics -- important because some research suggests that antibiotics in meat and dairy may contribute to antibiotic resistance in people. She can make it even more nutritious by adding chopped vegetables before baking.
Read the Fine Print
Frozen veggies are a smart option for hectic weeknights, as long as they're not served in sauce. Pam should trade creamed spinach for a bag of fresh spinach (on special for $1.79) or a few boxes of plain, frozen spinach, which she can saute with a little olive oil and garlic for extra flavor.
Avoid Sweet Traps
Pam was surprised to learn that there's hidden sugar in the nondairy creamer she puts in her coffee. Just two tablespoons pack nearly 12 grams and 100 calories. Replacing it with low-fat milk will save her money and nix the empty calories while adding calcium.
Total savings: about $41
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