5 Tips for Buying Healthy Food on a Budget

Do you feel like what's available is just too expensive to buy regularly?

5 Tips for Buying Healthy Food on a Budget

We all know how important it is to eat healthy, nutritious food. But sometimes it can feel like what's available is just too expensive to buy regularly. Well, you should know there's plenty of nutritious food for every budget. Registered dietician Maya Feller is here with her top five tips for finding healthy food that's affordable at the grocery store.

Stay In-Season

Plan your meals around the seasons and buy produce that's in season. For example, summer is great for blueberries and green beans, the fall is known for crisp apples, and the winter is full of squash and sweet potatoes. Shopping in-season not only fills your meals with the best and freshest flavors but it cuts way down on the price too because it's readily available.

Don't Be Afraid of Dried Goods

Use options that are dried, like beans, whole ancient grains, nuts and seeds. They are shelf-stable and provide an excellent plant-based source of protein that can be stored for long periods of time. Try almonds, flax seeds, farro and lima beans.

Shop the Sales

Shop for items that are on sale from week to week. If a food you love is on sale when you go shopping, buy extra! Take it all home and can or freeze it for storing and eating later. If it's fresh, process it yourself and can or freeze it so you will have access to it later.

Focus on the Freezer

The freezer section of the store is a great place to shop for healthy foods. From berries and veggies to chicken breasts and seafood, there's plenty of items to choose from. Frozen produce — without additives — is nutritious and very cost-effective. These items often cost far less than their fresh counterparts that can expire more quickly, but frozen food is still packed with vitamins and minerals from being preserved.

Pack Your Pantry

Jarred, boxed and canned items — without added sugars or synthetic fats and minimal salts — can be an excellent alternative to other packaged foods, especially when you are short on time. Look for the canned beans and veggies or jarred fruit in water or its own juices. Also try tips like this to make packaged soups healthier.

Maya Feller is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Brooklyn. She provides medical nutrition therapy for the management of and risk reduction of non-communicable diseases. Maya is dedicated to promoting nutrition education that helps the public to make informed food choices that support health and longevity. Find her on Instagram, @mayafellerRD, and check out her book "The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life."

Quiz: Are You Spending Too Much at the Grocery Store?

Take our quiz to find out if you're paying too much for groceries and how you can save extra money at the supermarket. www.doctoroz.com

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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