Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to abandon your healthy goals. Use these tips to cut costs, trim calories and boost nutrition.
- Bulk up. Buying in bulk means savings for you—no fancy labels and packaging to drive costs up. Best bets include whole grains, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and cereals.
- Go seasonal. Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are often imported and expensive. Find out what's in season in your area at http://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide.
- Make a plan. Planning menus in advance ensures that you only buy what you need and helps you avoid the takeout trap.
- Be an outsider. The outer aisles of the grocery store are where the healthiest ingredients are typically located. Expensive (and less-than-healthy) processed foods like soda, candy, chips and snacks are usually found on the inner aisles.
- Love those legumes. Beans and legumes cost only a fraction of the price of other sources of protein, like beef and chicken. Plus, they're loaded with fiber and rich in folic acid, calcium, iron and antioxidants.
- Start stretching. When you do use beef or chicken, make it go further with generous additions of whole grains, beans and/or vegetables.