Shopping for Health and Budget

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Here are ways to shop and save money while purchasing healthy choices that are good for you and your family.
Bread
• HEALTH: Always buy 100% whole grain.
• BANK: Stock up and freeze when items go on sale
Canned Goods
• HEALTH: Try to choose items that say no-added-salt or reduced sodium.
• BANK: Store brands, when on sale, are the best value - stock up when you see them!
Cereal
• HEALTH: Oatmeal is one of the healthiest choices because it is a whole grain and has no added salt, fat or sugar (ditto for shredded wheat).
• BANK: Stock up when items are on sale.
• BANK: Even though grits are not a whole grain, they are economical and low in calorie density.
Pasta
• HEALTH: Rice is a very inexpensive option that is also low in calorie density when cooked. Of course brown is best but white is not such a bad option either if that is all your family will eat.
• BANK: Look for sales on store brands and stock up when prices are good.
Produce
• HEALTH: MyPlate calls for most people to eat about 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies each day.
• BANK: Farmer’s markets and local stands often have the best prices.
• BANK: Watch local papers for grocery stores to offer sales on produce - you can get some great deals.
• BANK: Use items in season to get the best value and for a little change of pace each season.
• BANK: Don’t buy too much unless you plan to use it before it spoils. An exception might be if you plan to cook and freeze soups or other dishes.
Protein
• HEALTH: Choose lean, cook lean and use portion control.
• BANK: One word helps here - sale!
• BANK: Use smaller quantities
• BANK, HEALTH: Of course the cheapest protein item is also the healthiest and highest in fiber - beans
• BANK, HEALTH: If you don’t have a lot of time use lentils
• BANK, HEALTH:If you do have some time, consider cooking and freezing larger batches of dried beans
Beware of these pitfalls
• Expensive items include soda, chips, cereals, cookies, crackers and convenience meals. These are also calorie dense. Try to limit these treats to just one per week - don’t need to fill the cart with them.
• Shopping without a list
• Shopping when hungry
• Shopping with other family members

Quick 5 Checklist to Save:
___ Look for store brands
___ On sale - good - stock up!
___ Compare unit pricing
___ Stick to your list
___ Use less meat, soda, cookies, crackers, chips, deli, bakery and convenience items

Three Easy Ways to Save on Food:

Fewer shopping trips can help save on fuel and food costs
Consumers these days are feeling a crunch with rising gas and food costs. The Department of Agriculture predicts a 4% to 5% increase in food prices this year, nearly twice the rate for 2005. The largest increases are forecast for fats and oils, estimated to rise 8% to 9%, and cereals and bakery products, projected to jump 7.5% to 8.5%. Gas is already edging closer to $4 per gallon. Here are 3 tips to help!
1. Shop less frequently
One way to save time and help lower costs is to shop less frequently. Fewer trips means less money spent on impulse decisions and less money spent on fuel and transportation costs to the store. This also saves you time.
2. Stock up on low cost frozen and pantry items especially when they are on sale
Foods for the pantry and freezer have a much longer shelf life than refrigerated items. Frozen foods, canned goods and bulk pantry items also tend to be bulky and take more time to gather since you have to push the cart all over the store so it is more efficient to buy more of them rather than little bits each week if you can swing it. By stocking up a lot on freezer and pantry items at a discount store and when you see them on sale you can save a lot. This makes weekly shopping easier - you can dash in to the local market for a few fresh produce and dairy items.
Right now, with food costs rising, it makes sense to stockpile foods - buying now gets you today’s prices.
And if you stock up on MyPlate foods you are more likely to prepare and eat healthful meals at home instead of eating out. Foods prepared at home are often healthier and lower in calories than restaurant foods and you spend less for gas if you stay home as well.
3. Choose less processed foods
By purchasing items that are less processed you spend less money and get items that are healthier. For example, by choosing whole potatoes versus potato chips or frozen French fries, you save a lot of money per ounce. You also save fat, sodium and calories as well! Compare the price per ounce for these potato products:
• baking potatoes    0.06
• frozen French fries    0.13
• frozen mashed potatoes    0.13
• instant mashed potatoes    0.21
• potato chips    0.32
The processed items (in italics) are at least double the price of the plain potatoes.

Here is a list of what to buy for the freezer and pantry based on MyPlate:

  • Pantry
  • Canned beans
  • Canned tomatoes and veggies
  • Canned tuna
  • Fat-free dry milk powder
  • Jams
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta and whole grain pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice and brown rice
  • Soups
  • Freezer:
  • Bread (whole grain)
  • Chicken
  • Egg whites or nonfat egg substitute in cartons
  • Fish and seafood (not breaded)
  • Fruits
  • Lean meat
  • Seafood
  • Turkey
  • Vegetables
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