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As you ring in the New Year, you may be thinking about resolutions. Eating healthier and saving money are both high on the list for many of us. Can you accomplish both at the same time? Yes! Nutritious, appealing food for your family should not break the bank. Consider these ideas for 2015:
Dine out with care
When it comes to healthy eating, dining out can be pricy, but it doesn’t have to be. One trick is choosing an entrée salad, as they essentially combine a first and second course with plenty of veggies and protein. Taco, Greek, Cobb, and seafood salads are all quite satiating, as are those that feature beans and grains for complete protein. Bring your own wine too, it’s worth paying a modest corkage to save a bundle!
Create anchor meals
If you plan ahead for meals rather than buying on impulse, you’ll typically eat healthier and save too. Start by creating at least five “anchor” dinners you can rotate. These might include vegetarian chili and cornbread, soup/salad combos, black bean tacos, enchiladas, burritos, fish tostadas, pita bread pizzas, veggie quesadillas, or pasta with lots of veggies plus tofu or chicken. Veggie omelets with a green salad make a great (cheap) dinner too.
While many grocery coupons target processed foods, take heart. You can find great discounts on healthy fare too! You may locate them on a given brands website, especially if you receive their newsletters. Other sites specialize in year-round coupons for a plethora of healthy items, from foods and beverages to body care and nutritional supplements. Check your health food store newsletter or circular too.
Target store brands
Due to a growing demand for healthy/organic products, many grocery chains and health food stores have developed their own product lines for a wide range of foods, beverages, condiments and more. Choosing the store brand could cut your bill by at least 25%. You may find them periodically on sale as well, for even deeper savings.
Buy local items in season
Farmer's markets and local businesses can be great sources for affordable fresh produce. You can also find locally grown items in your neighborhood health food store or market. Because it can be abundant at a given time, produce in season is often reasonably priced, even “luxury” items like asparagus, mangoes, figs, pomegranates and artichokes.
While many families frequently rely on costly take-out, healthy frozen entrées and side dishes are convenient and cost-effective too. If possible, stock up when appealing items are on sale. Flash-frozen foods retain much of their nutritional value and make it easy for busy families to enjoy a wholesome dinner at home. Add a fresh, colorful salad or crudité platter and you’ve covered your bases beautifully!
If you want to embrace 2015 with the intention of healthier menus, it’s easier than you think, even on a tight budget. Happy eating!