More Nutrition, Less $$

Food prices have risen over the past several years to the point where saying you spent your "whole paycheck" for your groceries is no longer a punchline. If you are striving to eat a more healthy diet by filling your kitchen with items like organic produce, eggs from free range chickens and gluten-free products, you know this is true. Eating well does cost a little more, but it is one of the best investments you can make in your health and that of your family. The good news is you don’t have to choose between eating well and saving money if you follow a few simple rules: Make a List

A little pre-planning goes a long way to help you save money and eat better. By preparing a list with the ingredients for your meals you prevent yourself from wandering lost amongst the tempting, brightly colored packaging, which I wrote about in Grocery Store Confidential. A meal plan and a specific list for each meal will keep you on track with your nutrition and fitness goals.

Say Hello To Farmer Brown

Going to a farmers' market used to be a special trip, maybe reserved for a Saturday morning in the summer. Now it is easier than ever to find local produce, eggs and even meat in your neighborhood. You might even save a little money versus a visit to the grocery store. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is one of several, which show farmers' market prices consistently lower than those of neighboring stores. Can’t find the time to get to your farmers'  market? Join Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and you may be able to have the produce delivered to you during the growing season.

Fruit

Bulk Up

Sam's Club, Costco, Aldi and other large stores carry ridiculously large-sized packages of meat, fish, produce and other groceries. If you’re just buying for yourself, these quantities may be too large, but if you are feeding a family and don't mind a little work you can save a lot of money. CSAs also deliver large amounts of local, seasonal produce at lower-than-grocery-store prices.

Flash Frozen v. Fresh

Another way to save on your food bill is to buy flash frozen produce, meat and fish. You will lose some of the nutritional punch, but you’ll save money and there's no rush to use it. You’ll save the most when you buy seafood, which is much more expensive when you get it fresh. Be sure to compare produce prices, especially for fresh in-season items which may be less than frozen.

Calendar

Beans

Beans are the cornerstone of many cuisines around the world. They are a great source of protein and fiber and are very cheap. Dry beans, which you have to soak yourself, are the least expensive although it takes more time and planning than opening a can. Simply soak them overnight and they will be ready to cook the next day.

Now you can’t say money is an obstacle to eating better today.

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John Holley, MS is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with over 10 years of experience guiding others to their health and fitness goals. Read more about a variety of health and fitness topics at http://bemovelive.com or follow John on Twitter @bemovelive.