Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but they can get expensive. KHQ-MD Dietician Sandy Zobell shares her tips about buying fruits and veggies for a healthy diet.
1) How can you get good quality fruits and vegetables while sticking to your budget?
With careful meal planning, smart shopping and proper food storage, it is possible to include fruits and veggies into any budget at any time of the year. Buy fresh fruits and veggies in season. Keep in mind though, they don't last long, so buy small amounts more frequently or buy some that still need time to ripen. Be aware that pre-cut, pre-washed and ready-to-eat items are surely convenient, but often cost more so do your own washing and cutting! Buy carefully in bulk – and ONLY if you plan to use it or are able to freeze it. Sometimes the larger size is not always the best price and certainly is not if the food is thrown away. Check your local newspaper, in-store and on-line for store specials and coupons that can cut food costs. Include canned, frozen and dried fruits and veggies in your planning. These are easy to buy in bulk and often on sale to keep on hand in the pantry or cupboard. When buying, be sure to check e expiration or "use by" dates to ensure you are getting the freshest product. Plant your own garden in the yard or on the patio and get flavorful additions to meals.
2) Are canned fruits and veggies a good option?
Absolutely! All forms of fruits and veggies really do matter – fresh, dried, frozen, canned and 100% juice. Most canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of harvest, so their flavor and nutritional values are preserved. Most important is to look at the labels. Choose fruits that are canned in 100% juice or its natural juice rather than light or heavy syrup. Choose vegetables labeled "no added salt" or "low sodium".
3) How much money can you save by planting your own garden?
Sorry no definitive answer – it would be very dependent upon how large the garden and variety and how the season "grows"……AHHH…but the personal pleasure of knowing your food is fresh off the vine! Sweet and priceless! J
4) Any other money saving tips?
In addition to the above and in general: 1) Plan! 2) Pay for food and not for convenience. Take the time to prepare your own meals, even preparing in advance and freezing them. 3) Try store brands. You might find little difference compared to the name brands. 4) Do not shop when you are hungry! It will be easier to avoid the tempting snack foods. 5) Make a list and stick to it when you shop. 6) Compare unit prices listed on the store shelves below the product to get the best price.