Health Team

Eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank

Posted March 25, 2009 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2009 6:47 p.m. EDT

— With less money to spend, many people retreat to cheaper but less nutritious foods. Dietitians say there are ways to buy healthy and still keep the receipt total down.

One way to help is buying in bulk.

“A lot of times, we don't think about buying frozen vegetables in bulk and dividing them up individually or dividing them up per week,” said registered dietitian Natalie Newell with Rex Healthcare.

Newell said frozen veggies are just as healthy as fresh produce and cheaper. At one bulk food warehouse, a four-pound package of broccoli is $1.39 per pound. Fresh broccoli at a grocery store runs about $2.50 per pound.

Consumers can save money with canned vegetables, but should look for low-sodium labels or drain and rinse the vegetables before cooking them in fresh water.

Newell said the same goes for fruit, which is available frozen or canned.

“As long as it's in its own natural juices … drain the juices off. It's definitely acceptable,” Newell said.

Yogurt sold in individual packages is convenient and popular, but buying it in larger containers is cheaper.

“Go ahead and put it in your own containers,” Newell said. “You can do the work yourself and save a significant amount of calories and a significant amount of money.”

The same thing works for fish and lean meat.

In bulk, salmon fillets cost, on average, $5.85 per pound. Salmon purchased at the grocery store runs about $8.49 per pound.

Pork loin purchased in bulk is about $1.58 per pound – nearly $3 cheaper than the grocery price.

Consumers can purchase a whole chicken in bulk for about 24 cents less than at the grocery store.

Newell recommends having the store’s butcher cut the meat at the store or cutting the meat at home so the pieces can be frozen individually.