Eating Healthily on a Shoestring Budget

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Looking after your health and waistline need not mean blowing the budget. Try our tips for making your money stretch farther at the supermarket.

  • Use those veggies. Halve the amount of meat in recipes and add additional vegetables. More veggies means less saturated fat, and more fiber, antioxidants and vitamins for your body, plus more dollars in your pocket! Stir-frys, meat sauces and lasagna are all good dishes to put this tip to use.
  • Get a leg-up with legumes. Legumes (beans and lentils) are tasty, versatile and cheap. At only 70 to 100 calories per 3 ounce serving, you can fill up without fattening up. Soaking and cooking dried beans and lentils is the cheapest option, but canned beans are also economical. Just watch the sodium content of some brands.
  • Avoid shopping when you're hungry. A sure-fire way to end up with expensive, high-calorie extras in your cart is to visit the supermarket on an empty stomach. You'll be better able to make sensible decisions if your stomach isn't steering you towards the candy and cookies aisle!
  • Buy in bulk. Items such as meat, potatoes and carrots are cheaper per pound if you buy a larger quantity. Freeze the extras (if freezable), or split large purchases with friends or family members. Likewise you can make your own single-serving portions of snack foods by dividing up a more economical larger packet as soon as you get home from the supermarket.
  • Buy in-season. Buying out-of-season fruits and vegetables often results in an expensive, imported product that can be disappointingly tasteless. Choose recipes that make the most of what's currently in season and enjoy the good taste and cheaper prices. Instead of spending money on chocolate bars, treat yourself to some of the more exotic fruit varieties when they come into season, like mangoes, fresh raspberries, kiwi fruit and pineapple.