Simple tips on how to eat healthy for less

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Eggs are an option to choose if you'd like to look beyond meat. They are generally cheap, and rich in protein. Photo / Thinkstock
Eggs are an option to choose if you'd like to look beyond meat. They are generally cheap, and rich in protein. Photo / Thinkstock

You can get the same healthy proteins, carbohydrates and fats for less money.

"The strategy is to buy inexpensive foods that still provide the nutrients that support good health," says Dr Mickey Harpaz, a nutritionist and exercise physiologist with offices in New York and Connecticut.

Here are some tips:

* Stop buying junk - Processed snacks, soft drinks and juices often are expensive and do nothing for your body.

* Look beyond meat - Beans, lentils, chickpeas and eggs are generally cheap and rich in protein. If you buy canned beans, rinse them to cut down on salt.

* Take advantage of chicken - It's often a bargain compared to other meats, and to save even more, buy chicken whole and separate it into parts for meals, soups and sandwiches. Chicken liver also is low-priced for the protein and iron it provides.

* Canned fish - Tuna in water (not oil) is a good alternative to fresh fish; rinse before use. Frozen seafood is often expensive, but the fresh catch-of-the-day may not be - ask the seafood department.

* Go for frozen produce - Fruits and vegetables are pricey out of season, but frozen options tend to be nutrient-rich thanks to "flash freezing" done just after picking. You also can load up on cheap in-season produce, especially at farmers' markets, and freeze it.

* Buy nuts in bulk - A handful a day is an excellent protein source, but small containers at grocery stores are too costly. Get nuts from wholesale stores and keep them in air-tight containers.

* Choose "whole" foods whenever possible - Buy a full cabbage and shred it yourself, for example, rather than a pre-packaged bag.

* Shop smart - Write weekly menus, follow grocery lists and take advantage of coupons, store brands and bulk items. Don't shop when you're hungry and more likely to make impulse buys.

- AAP

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