Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. But the recent rise in commodity prices is forcing food prices higher, making it harder to eat smart on the cheap. We spoke to nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot, creator of The F-Factor diet, who shared tips on how to eat healthy on a budget .
Eat Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
"Don't be a fruit snob," says Zuckerbrot, who points out frozen fruit is a cheaper, yet still nutritious alternative to fresh fruit. Zuckerbrot adds that you don’t have to worry about frozen fruit spoiling
Buy Store Brands
Don't pay more for the same product. "[Store brands] are the cheapest choice and don't compromise nutrition quality," says Zuckerbrot, who challenges consumers to compare labels and find that all the ingredients are the same.
Cook with Canned Beans
“Canned beans are a great alternative to meat and less money,” says Zuckerbrot. They are not only packed with fiber, but also contain less fat than meat and can sell for a less than a dollar a can.
Stock Up on Oats
As the one of the most nutritious low-cost food products, 'oats can be a healthy substitute in meatloaf, cookies, or just about anything,” claims Zuckerbrot. She also suggests purchasing oats in canisters because they cost about $2 less than instant packets.
Make Eggs a Staple in Your Diet
Boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs are a key necessity in every healthy diet. You can eat them any time of the day, and can be bought for as low as $1 per dozen.
Pick Your Meat Wisely
Zuckerbrot recommends stocking up on meat and poultry when it’s on sale and freezing it. And don’t be afraid of a little work, “buying a whole chicken helps you save about $4,” says Zuckerbrot who also advises flank steak is a more healthy (not to mention budget-friendly) option than prime rib.
Chomp on Popcorn Kernels
Popcorn serves as a good source of fiber and protein and has a long shelf life. Tip: Zuckerbrot suggests popping your kernels in a brown paper bag, saying it’s healthier and you can add your own toppings like cayenne pepper or paprika.
Skip 100-Calorie Packs
While they might be an easy way to track calories, 100 calorie snacks are a waste of money claims Zuckerbrot who says you are paying more for less.
Swap Canned Salmon for Tuna
Canned salmon is much healthier than tuna and contains two-thirds as much calcium as milk (about 10%), says Zuckerbrot. Salmon is also low in calories and a great source of protein.
Ditch Bottled Water
Staying hydrated is an important part of a balanced diet, but buying bottled water is a waste of money, according to Zuckerbrot because you're paying for packaging. Zuckerbrot suggests purchasing a water filter such and an aluminum water bottle than you can refill.
You can still watch your weight and your pennies. Here are 10 tips for eating well on a budget.