Chef's Corner: Cheap Eats
ANN ARBOR (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Are you having a hard time getting the most for your money at the grocery store? The healthier the food the more it costs … right? Not always! We head to the store to show you how to find healthy food that's cheap.
From the fresh stuff to the not so fresh, University of Michigan health educator Holly Scherer, R.D., takes a trip down the aisle with shoppers to show us how to buy better food on a budget.
"Things like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions -- those things are going to last longer, so you can buy them when they're on sale," Scherer told Ivanhoe.
First, fresh does not equal expensive.
"You want to buy as much as you can in season," Scherer explained. "That's when you get the best price."
When it comes to produce, do it yourself. Bagged lettuce will cost you two dollars more than a head of lettuce. Chopped up carrots costs 40 cents more than a bunch of whole ones. Canned fruit is a good alternative when your favorite fruit is out of season, but beware…
"It will say 'in heavy syrup' and if you look at the back and the ingredients, you can see that they've added corn syrup and sugar," Scherer said.
Look for it in light syrup and in the ingredients look for just fruit and water. Scherer says if you plan to buy your veggies in a can, your healthiest bets are green beans or beats. Protein can be a tricky thing to buy while counting your nickels and dimes. Filet may not make it into your cart, but there are other alternatives.
"Canned tuna and canned salmon are an excellent alternative to meat that will provide all the nutrients you need at a lower cost," Scherer said. And buying chicken with bone can save more than two bucks.
Moving on to grains … buy less processed to save money. Stick with brown bagged rice instead of boxed white rice and save a $1.80.
"Brown rice is definitely healthier than white rice because you're getting the whole grain, which gives you more fiber, more nutrients," Scherer explained.
One of her favorite quick and healthy meals that doesn't cost much … black bean salad. Just cut up some of your favorite veggies, add them to can of rinsed black beans, a little splash of lime juice and some cilantro. Serve in a tortilla with a side of some baked tortilla chips. It's healthy, less than 300 calories and costs under $9 for a meal that serves four.
Just a few tips on how to eat healthy and buy cheap!
Remember, eggs are a good alternative to meat. One egg is equal to one ounce of meat, but you'll pay three-times more for beef. Some other quick tips: always look for the generic, stock up on non-perishables when they are two for one, and spend your time in the perimeter of the store -- that's where the healthier products are.
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Black Bean Salad