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Dinner Diva: Six ways to save money while eating healthy

dinner divaIf I had a dollar for every time someone told me they couldn’t afford to eat healthy, I might not be a millionaire, but I could surely buy a new car ;-)

The thing is, it’s not true. We can all afford to make healthy changes in our lifestyle.

Is it expensive to subsist entirely on organic chicken and kale? Yes. But there are plenty of other ways to stretch your grocery budget by choosing healthy options.

Here are a few ways to keep nutrition high and costs low.

Buy ingredients. Not packages. Look for ingredients to make your own healthy granola bars instead of buying the healthiest granola bars in the store. Buy some meat, tomatoes, and noodles instead of a packaged lasagna. Make your own condiments. Skip the convenience and you’ll save money (and you usually end up with more food). Every. Time.

Buy frozen. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh veggies, but they cost a significant amount less. Buy enough fresh produce to last you the first part of the week, and rely on veggies from the freezer when it’s coming back around to shopping day.

Be smart with meat. Buy whole chickens instead of chicken pieces. Learn how to cook with less expensive cuts of meat. Better yet? Find a group of people to chip in together on a whole animal from a local farmer.

Choose organic only when necessary. If you don’t have the means to shop exclusively for organic foods, shop by the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists put out by

Quit splurging. Do you need individual coffee pods? Is $4 bottled water a requirement? Do you need “healthy” desserts and treats? Nope. You’re wasting your money. Instead, invest your paycheck into real foods.

Plan meals. If you create a shopping list according to your weekly meal plan, you can keep a much tighter rein on your budget. And always, always stick to the list!

Dinner Diva column by Leanne Ely/