HealthTalk: Want to save money on healthy groceries? Read these expert tricks.

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Q: What are some tricks for saving money on groceries while still eating healthy?

If you are like the average American household, food is your second largest expense category, so saving money week after week can really add up. While you may think buying healthy foods means paying more, that is not necessarily true. And the costs of eating healthy can pay back years down the road in good health, by lowering your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

You can maximize savings by using more than just one strategy.

Make Choices Dollar-Wise and Health-Wise

Make healthy choices based on the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredient lists that show a food is minimally processed, rather than paying more based on package claims. A food labeled “natural”, for example, can be more expensive than other choices, but just as high in sugar or salt. Read more… “HealthTalk: Want to save money on healthy groceries? Read these expert tricks.”

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    Study: Shopping Hungry? Shopping Unhealthy

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    If you’re stomach is rumbling with hunger a new study now gives you a solid reason to put off that grocery trip, suggesting you might buy the same amount of food but you’ll come away with more unhealthy items.iStock_000016308603_ExtraSmall

    The study was published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    Research already suggests that hunger can affect food purchases, but study researchers wanted to see what happens to the types of foods people buy after skipping a meal or other short-term fasts.

    The researchers delved into our shopping habits with two tests: One in a laboratory and the other a supermarket. In the lab study, 68 participants of all ages were asked not to eat for five hours before they went to the session. Half of the participants in the sessions could eat as many crackers as they wanted until they no longer were hungry. The other half remained hungry. All the participants were then asked to shop in an online grocery store. Read more… “Study: Shopping Hungry? Shopping Unhealthy”

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      Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget

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      There’s been a lot of press lately on the cost of foods after a USDA report found that healthier foods are not necessarily more expensive.

      But one reason people turn to less healthy options is because often, they are just more convenient. Take the time to make your own popcorn and you’ll get whole grain goodness with only 31 calories; microwaving a pre-packed bag saves time but runs about 85 calories. Cooking up brown rice, spices and veggies doesn’t cost that much, but sometimes it’s a lot easier to grab the box. Those packaged, boxed meals or convenience foods are…convenient. They are also typically heavy on the calories, sodium, and fat.

      But they don’t have to be. There are ways you can get all the convenience of those packaged foods, save money, and eat a cancer-protective diet. In my last blog I wrote about a study to promote healthy purchasing in a low-income area of Baltimore. Here are some budget-friendly tips we used:

      1.     Snack seasonally.

      Rather than grabbing chips or cookies, take a piece of fruit or a vegetable that you can have on the go. The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables changes with the time of year, and when they are in season you can buy them for a lot less money (and help support local farmers, too!). Peaches are in peak season right now, and packed with vitamin C. Read more… “Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget”

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