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12 Ways to Save Money on Food Shopping

How to eat cheap -- but healthfully -- despite rising grocery costs.
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2. Make Healthy Choices -- They’re Cheaper continued...

"The ideal food is nutrient-dense not calorie-dense, and the least expensive may be fresh, frozen, or canned," Tallmadge says.

And if you're craving something sweet?

Connie Diekman, RD, says, "Save money by passing on calorie-dense cakes and cookies. Instead, opt for seasonal fruit. Fruit is fat-free, high in nutrients and fiber, and a natural energizer."

Look for sales or coupons for light ice cream or nonfat frozen yogurt to enjoy with your fruit and you have a delicious, fat-free, low-calorie dessert.

3. Buy Produce in Season

Check the food section in your newspaper to find the best buys for the week based on fresh produce in season. Food in season is usually priced to sell. During the summer months, corn on the cob can cost as little as 10 cents an ear; at other times of the year, it may cost 10 times as much. Also, shop your local farmers' market for great deals on local produce; the prices won't include shipping costs.

4. Use Sales and Coupons

Planning meals around what's on sale can lower your grocery bills, especially if you also use coupons. Just make sure they're for items you would buy anyway. Sunday newspapers are full of coupons and sales circulars to get you started. It's also a good idea to stock up on staples when they're on sale. "Buy one, get one free" is basically a technique to get you to buy twice as much as you need at half the price. At some markets, though, the product rings up half-price -- so you don't have to buy more than one to get the savings. Use your freezer to store sale items that can be used at a later date.

5. Brown-Bag It

Making lunch and taking it with you is a great money-saver and an excellent use of leftovers for meals at work, school, or wherever your destination. "Packing your lunch not only saves you money, but you can control all the ingredients so they are healthy and low in calories," says Diekman, who is nutrition director at Washington University. Pack a simple sandwich, salad, soup, wrap, or a hearty snack of cheese. Use freezer packs and containers to keep food at the proper temperature unless you have access to a refrigerator.

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