I need to lose weight, but I’m afraid it’s going to cost me a fortune to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve read your advice for those on a tight budget, but I still think that healthy items are going to empty my wallet.
When you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to lose your shirt! Waist-friendly foods such as fruits and vegetables can actually be quite affordable. I took my calculator to the supermarket and did some comparison-shopping.
Shop smart in the produce aisle:
It takes all of 5 seconds to peel a carrot. (And think of the calories you’ll expend hunting for the vegetable peeler buried in that gadget drawer.) Instead of eating 7 or 8 baby carrots, chomp on an entire carrot, the nutritional equivalent, and save yourself some loot.
At first glance, it may not look like much of a savings, but you’re actually getting more broccoli for your greenbacks with the frozen variety. When you buy fresh broccoli, you’re paying for the hefty stalk that’s going to end up down the garbage disposal. With frozen broccoli everything in the bag is edible. When the price of fresh broccoli dips lower than the frozen variety, consider it a bargain.
To save a bundle on salads, break open the cabbage, wash it, and store it in the fridge in a plastic container. Keep a hand grater handy and shred as needed for your salads and pita sandwiches.
Wash and tear your own lettuce for a fraction of the price of the bagged variety.
Buying fruit out of season is like buying produce that is 14-karat (not carrot) gold. Until the price drops, sugar-free frozen fruit is a steal. It tastes great in yogurt, cottage cheese, and is even yummy by itself. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator for a sweet treat the next day.
I didn’t need the calculator for this one — canned fruit can be a sweet bargain. If only fresh pineapple will do, core your own. Learn how to pick everything from a fresh cantaloupe to strawberries.
Shopping smart in the deli aisle:
Think of the deli as valet parking. You can pay to have someone park, I mean cook, your turkey breast or ham, or you can do it yourself. Instead, buy an entire boneless turkey breast and/or ham, and cook it on the weekend for dinner. The leftovers can be used for weekday sandwiches or frozen for the following week.
Shop smart in the grain and cereal aisle:
Forget the seasoned rice mixes. You’re often paying for a little bit of seasoning and a whole lot of sodium — over 650 milligrams of sodium in a serving of pilaf! Cook your own brown rice sprinkled with bouillon granules and a dash of pepper at a sprinkling of the cost.
Frozen bagels will not only save you twice the moola, but also at least twice the calories. The smaller, 2 ounce, 150 calorie, frozen varieties are much closer to a standard bagel portion. Those four-ounce plus bakery bagels can be as big as a grapefruit and the equivalent of a donut at over 300 calories.
Here’s a shock-a-roo: When it comes to preparation time, instant oatmeal isn’t any more “instant” than the quick cook type. Both varieties of oatmeal take about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes to cook in the microwave. The higher priced, instant oatmeal can contain as much as 80 milligrams of sodium, compared to the sodium-free, quick cook style. Grab the quick cook.
Two slices of whole wheat bread provide the same amount of sandwich coverage as a roll at about a third the cost. Stick with the bread.