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Tips for eating healthy when money is tight


Photo: gahsoons/iStockphoto

Heading to the grocery store? MyPlate.gov has tips to help you get the most out of your money while making healthy choices.

Fruits and vegetables:

  • Buy “in season” produce, which is usually less expensive and at peak flavor. Buy only what you can use before it spoils.
  • Frozen vegetables are as good for you as fresh ones, and may cost less. If you have the freezer space, stock up on frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter.
  • Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. These products are just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables and often cost less.


  • Try new whole-grain snack ideas, like buying a bag of popping kernels and heating them in an air popper.
  • Choose hot cereals such as plain oatmeal – they’re easier on the wallet.


  • Low-cost sources of protein include beans, peas and lentils such as kidney beans, lima beans, split peas and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
  • Buy the family-sized or value pack and freeze what you don’t use. Choose lean meats such as chicken or turkey. When choosing ground beef, make sure it’s at least 93% lean.
  • Canned tuna, salmon or sardines are low-cost options that store well.


  • Buy the larger size of plain low-fat yogurt instead of individual flavored yogurt – pricewise, it’s usually a better bargain per serving. Then add your own flavors by mixing in fruits.
  • Avoid waste by checking the sell-by date to make sure you’re buying the freshest products.

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