Written by: Terry Williams, M.Ed, CSCS of Houston TREND

It doesn’t feel so good when you’re draining your wallet in search of healthy eating options. While it is admirable that some people can afford to shop at high-end stores with imported organics that break the bank, commoners can practice some supermarket smarts to find bargain buys that keep the wallet fat and the body fit!

            First, practice some basic restraint to cut unnecessary costs. Try shopping only along the perimeter of the store. You’ll notice that all of the healthiest items (such as fresh produce, meats & dairy) are located along the outskirts, and the fatty, sugary & salty temptations are stashed away within the store’s interior.

            After cutting the unnecessary pieces, take into account some basic nutritional needs and simply be smart about choosing the least costly options. You’ll need lean protein, complex carbs (like grains) and a solid mix of fruits and veggies. While protein-rich items like organic bison meat and salmon are more costly, almost anyone can afford fresh chicken breasts, ground turkey or tilapia filets. When selecting veggies, be sure to get your leafy greens! One not-so-pricey option is to buy the large tubs of mixed greens (spring mix), often featuring romaine lettuce and spinach. These tubs give you enough veggies to last several days and generally cost less than $5.00! As for those grains, if you’re okay with spending just a few extra cents, aim for the WHOLE grains. This means brown rice, not white. Whole grain bread, not white.  Wheat pasta, not white. Get the picture? On a recent trip to the store, I was able to find whole grain options on all of these products for no more than $1 over the less-healthy alternative’s cost.

            Lastly, be sure to snack smart. When you do want something sweet, it’s much wiser to be proactive and grab fruits which give you natural sugars and block cravings for processed, sugar-tainted junk foods than to allow the candy craving to beat you down. I can’t name any candy item that’s cheaper & sweeter than a delicious green apple! The idea of healthy eating being more expensive is a myth, and by following these simple tips, you can guard you health (and your wallet) by saving green and eating clean!♠

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