Thursday, October 8, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget pt 1

It's fall again. That time of year when cider and hot chocolate make my day just that much better. I don't like being cold, and it sure is windy in Nebraska, so it's not typically my favorite season. Add to that the rising prices of produce, and I'll take summer back, thank you!

We all know that if we want to eat healthy and we have a limited budget to stay away from processed foods. The Hamburger Helper, the chips, the cookies, etc. The problem is that if you're into couponing, these are the items that you can pick up for pennies if you know how to work the system. And what about special diets? Sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free? All of these items are still more costly than their counterparts.

It's fine to pick prepared boxed items up when they're good deals. There's always a time when you just don't want to or don't have the time to cook. Grabbing a boxed mix that you paid little to nothing for cannot be much worse than pulling through your favorite fast food restaurant, and much cheaper, too! These are also great to have on hand for those times when you would like to donate an item to a food pantry or canned food drive.

What's a mom on a budget to do when produce is so expensive? I know that I should feed my kids a variety of fruits and vegetables. I know that eating fresh is better for them. But when I walk into the produce aisle, I cringe at the prices. I often end up with the frozen variety, which is almost as good. I just have a hard time thinking of ways to use frozen fruit in a way that's not a smoothie or a dessert cobbler!

Stocking up in the summer and freezing things myself is another option for having produce all year long. Sometimes a store will have a coupon for something like bananas or raspberries at a great deal. It's tough finding a sale or coupon on produce, but they can be found. Mostly, I'm thinking that it's a matter of good food storage practices. Take a look at my previous post on storing summer produce. The same methods apply whether you've grown the produce yourself, or purchased them cheaply at the grocery store.

Check back tomorrow for more deal-finding tips on healthy food items. We'll talk about whole-grains, going organic, and more!

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