To most people, the idea of buying healthy food also means having to break the bank. Sheena Gregg, a registered dietician with the University of Alabama, says it's a common misconception.
"They associate healthy with expensive and inconvenient," she said.
But Gregg explains it's possible to buy healthy food on a tight budget.
"Usually I tell folks to follow through with the three p's," explained Gregg.
The three p's are plan, purchase, and prep. The planning phase is where people map out healthy meals, create a shopping list and dig for possible coupons.
Once that's covered, then it's on to the next p, purchase. Gregg says it's all about picking the right place to shop. She recommends buying in bulk so a membership store could be good for that. At a supermarket, choose the store brand if it's cheaper because there's usually no nutritional difference between generic and brand name options. Gregg says it's okay to reach for frozen foods, which can be a cheaper alternative to fresh produce.
"They can flash freeze these products, and so it's actually captured at its peak level of nutrition," Gregg said.
For fresh produce, she says think about local spots.
"Even visiting the farmers market later in the afternoon can be a great way to get a better price because farmers are eager to get rid of that produce so that they don't have to bring it back to their farms. So you can usually negotiate for a better price that way," she said.
Then there's the third p, prep. Gregg says instead of buying pre packaged items, people can do the work themselves. Take the food and separate it into containers or sandwich bags.
"It does take a little prep work in the beginning, but, it's so much cheaper overall then buying the individual products that are already packaged for you," she said.
Gregg recommends using apps on your Smartphone to help with the planning phase. These are the one her clients have found to be most helpful: Food on the Table, Meal Board, Pepper Plate, Food Planner, and Zip List.
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