Many of us are constantly toying with the dieting game. By that I mean we think about losing a few pounds here and there and whether or not changing the way will eat will offer us a reprieve from that tight-waisted feeling in our pants.
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Sometimes however looking to buy healthier foods seems like a real drain on your wallet. If you're following a specific diet plan it can be even more expensive.
Are there ways to eat healthier (or follow a "plan") without breaking the bank?
According to Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.Com's Household Savings Expert, there is and she offers some helpful tips.
Olive oil. Many diets require that you substitute butter with olive oil so be sure to store it properly to make it last longer (70 degrees or less).
Spices. The Mediterranean diet calls for lots of spices to replace salt. Spices should always be bought in bulk as the small bottles on the supermarket shelves are highly overpriced due to packaging. In fact, buying and grinding your own is truly the most cost effective route.
Produce. Saving money AND making fresh fruits and veggies last is the key as all these diets expect you to ingest 7-10 servings a day. To get the most mileage out of your produce:
Related: Drink Yourself Skinny
Store fruits like apples on their own. Apples emit ethylene, which causes quick ripening, so it’s true that one bad apple will spoil the bunch.
Wash lettuce and herbs under cold water then drain dry in a spinner or colander. Store in a plastic bag with a few sheets of paper towel inside the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to a week.
Don't store onions, potatoes or garlic in the fridge. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry spot. Onions will last even longer if you store them in the legs of nylon stockings. Just pick up an inexpensive pair at the drugstore.
Always buy pre-bagged. A five-pound bag of anything (oranges, apples, potatoes) has to have at least five-pounds, so there is a good chance you will get an extra quarter or half pound free.
Buy frozen. It’s generally comparable to fresh (just check the label to be sure the produce is the only item listed), and you are much more likely to find coupons for frozen produce.
Savings on Meat(s) & Fish:
Fish & Poultry. Look for canned tuna or salmon as possible lunch alternatives to more expensive fresh fish, which many of these diets encourage.
Red Meat. The South Beach Diet is the most forgiving around red meat so make friends with your local butcher and find out what time of day they typically mark down meat (it’s usually in the early morning or evening).
Though it will be approaching its sell by date, it’s fine to stock up and freeze it immediately. Some stores have two rounds of markdowns so ask how they typically do it and if you see meat with a sell by date of the next day, ask your butcher if it can be marked down a day early.
Extra Savings. If you’re feeling disciplined and want to stick with a certain plan for the foreseeable future, consider joining the Coupons savings club, which can save you even more on products from Weight Watchers and the South Beach Diet.
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Tara Weng is the national editor of parenting and health for GalTime. She is also a media consultant with a focus on medical and consumer topics. Her professional experience includes a stint as a medical/features producer at the NBC affiliate in Boston, MA and a media relations position at a top teaching hospital in Boston. Tara has also done public relations consulting work and has written for several online and print media outlets. She is a wife and a mother to two children (who are fantastic) and an enthusiastic New England sports fan.