Press Release: Eating Healthy at the Grocery Store
 

Eating Healthy While Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson says it can be done

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) May 7, 2009 -- "Shopping strategically at the grocery to save money is not changing the way you eat, it is about changing the way you buy the food that you like," says Stephanie Nelson, the Coupon Mom. "If you are working on losing weight, or improving your families' health, you can save money on groceries when you know how to be a Strategic Shopper."

Stephanie Nelson has taught millions of people how to save money while using coupons, but she says some people believe they have to trade healthy choices for saving money.    "It's just not true, you can have a healthy diet and save money, too," she says.

More than 1.7 million shoppers have joined the CouponMom.com website to save money on groceries. Nelson, the country's leading expert on coupons, has taught millions how to save money on her web site as well as on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, AOL, Wall Street Journal and CNN Money.

Some basic keys to saving money while serving healthy food include:

 
  • do it yourself, don't pay for convenience
  • simple substitutions--be aware of less expensive, comparable alternatives
  • do meal planning based on overall meal cost
  • save 10 to 40% by avoiding all food waste
  • save money and calories with proper portion control
  • use Strategic Shopping (combining store sales with coupons) on your key items
  • be store flexible: know the prices of your common items and shop where prices are lowest

 

How to save on produce:

 
  • compare prices for your common produce at a few different types of stores, such as a discount store (Wal-Mart or Target supercenters), a no-frills discount store (Aldi or Sav-a-Lot), a wholesale club (Costco or BJs) and a couple of local supermarkets. You may find that an alternate store would be a better source of produce in the off-season. During the summer, a local farmers' market could be a good source of healthy produce at a lower cost.
  • talk to the produce manager about markdowns, and find out what time of day they markdown produce (that is generally perfectly good).
  • buy fresh produce in season, concentrating on the featured sale items. If not on sale, buy frozen vegetables as they tend to be less expensive and have coupons available for name brands. Frozen vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness so they may have more nutrition than fresh vegetables that have been in storage for a longer period of time.
  • save money by doing it yourself. The cost savings of washing your own lettuce, peeling your own carrots, cutting your own fruit equates to an hourly wage of over $50! If it takes 5 minutes to save 60-70%, it's worth doing yourself. Don't pay exorbitant per-pound prices for pre-cut produce, pre-cooked chicken strips, cooked bacon, etc.
  • consider the cost per serving of fruits and vegetables and make simple substitutions to vary your diet and save money. Apples may cost $1.99 per lb. and bananas are 59 cents per lb. However, on a per-unit basis a large apple could cost $2 and a banana could cost 25 cents. When you consider that each family member may have 1 fruit a day (at a minimum), the cost difference really adds up. Also compare the cost per piece of fruit or potatoes of a 5-lb. bag as compared to buying individual pieces by the pound. Smaller apples cost less, lead to less waste, and have fewer calories.
  • pay attention to food waste and work to reduce it to zero. Food waste accounts for 10 to 40% of families' overall grocery spending (the average percentage increases as the average grocery spending increases according to USDA statistics). Serve realistic portions for weight-management and proper nutrition. Do not serve children more food than they would realistically eat. If you have a small portion of cooked vegetables, potatoes, rice, pasta, or the entree left over at the end of the meal, do not force someone to eat it or throw it away. Save the portion in a container for the refrigerator or freezer and use it in a future soup, salad or frittata to create a very inexpensive meal with a small portion.

How to save on meat, chicken, fish:

 
  • only buy main dish ingredients when they are on sale. Pay attention to your stores' featured sales item on the first page of their weekly ad and plan that week's meals around that ingredient. Chicken is a common sale item, so be creative about finding healthy recipes that your family likes using various types of chicken. Buy at least one or two extra weeks' worth of the main ingredient item to freeze so you do not have to pay full price in the future.
  • consider buying fish that is flash-frozen to save, or only buy the type of fish that is on sale.
  • Talk to your store's butcher about daily markdowns and check them out each store visit. Stores will frequently mark down items with sell-by dates of that day or the next day. As long as you freeze or prepare the item immediately, it is perfectly safe to eat.
  • buy larger family-pack quantities of meat, chicken or pork and package them into smaller quantities for the freezer to pay a lower per-pound cost. Buy a whole pork loin at $2 per lb. on sale and ask the butcher to cut it into chops while you shop rather than paying $3 or $4 per lb. for pork loin chops.
  • buy less expensive cuts of meat and prepare them to be healthier. Marinate less-expensive cuts of steak to tenderize them, which tend to be healthier because they are lower in fat.
  • only buy boneless chicken breasts when they sell for half price. This simple strategy saves my family over $300 per year on this one item alone. If not on sale, compare the per-pound price of individually frozen chicken breasts sold in the bag.
  • buy whole chickens at a lower per-pound price, or less-expensive chicken drumsticks or thighs. Buy chicken leg quarters on sale at 59 cents per lb. or less and cut off the skin and visible fat. Bake some for dinner and bake additional pieces to use in a chicken soup, stew or casserole later in the week.
  • compare the per-pound cost of your favorite cuts of meat, pork, chicken, fish at a local wholesale club to save 20-40%. Buy the large quantity for your freezer or divide with a friend.
  • substitute ground turkey for ground beef when it is less expensive in soups, pasta sauces and casseroles.
  • compare the cost of frozen ground turkey to fresh ground turkey; allow time to thaw if frozen is less expensive.
  • do not buy sliced deli turkey for $8 or $9 per lb. at the deli counter--make extra grilled chicken breasts at $2 per pound and slice for sandwiches during the week. You can also buy your own turkey breast and roast it, or bake a small chicken on sale for $1 per lb. and slice it for sandwiches.

Snacks

 
  • managing snacks is important because family members are likely to eat planned ingredients for other meals if you don't have easy snacks available. Let family members know what snacks are available and encourage them to choose the healthy, inexpensive options.
  • examples of inexpensive snacks include store brand pretzels, popcorn (air pop is the cheapest and lowest in calories), store brand graham crackers, carrot sticks, small apples, bananas, frozen banana smoothies with skim milk, diet hot cocoa packets, diet gelatin or pudding, saltines, yogurts bought on sale with coupons, and homemade cookies and brownies for family members (in moderation) who are not watching their weight.
  • do not pay the premium for pre-packaged 100 calorie snacks. A 6 ct. package of 100-calorie snack bags of crackers costs about $3.00 or more. A $1 bag of store brand pretzels or $1 box of store brand graham crackers makes at least fifteen 100 calorie portions--take a couple of minutes to divide the large bag of pretzels, graham crackers or saltines into smaller bags if that is easier to control and you'll save big. The pre-packaged option can cost 9 times as much.

Become familiar with what individual meals cost:
 
  • in addition to knowing what your foods cost per pound and finding the lowest-priced source of your key items, you also want to find healthy recipes that your family likes and know what each meal costs. You can vary less expensive options with more expensive options to manage your overall budget. Being aware of actual costs per meal can have a dramatic impact on overall grocery spending as you make weekly meal plans.

 

Examples of less-expensive dinner meal alternatives--based on family of 4

$4 or less per family of 4 dinner:

 
  • soups, chilis: especially legume, vegetable or bean-based soups with turkey sausage or beef
  • chicken soups or stews
  • chicken pot pie
  • pasta and pasta sauces
  • frittata
  • oven baked chicken leg quarters, brown rice, green vegetable

$5 to $8 dinners:
 
  • grilled chicken breast with brown rice, vegetables, salad
  • roasted whole chicken with potatoes, vegetable, salad
  • beef stew with vegetables
  • hamburgers, oven fries, vegetable, salad
  • stir fry chicken or pork and vegetables with rice
  • chicken enchilada casseroles, vegetables, salad

$9-$12 dinners
 
  • London Broil, baked potatoes, green vegetable, salad
  • grilled salmon, rice, vegetable, salad
  • grilled pork loin, rice, vegetable, salad
  • meat and cheese lasagna, vegetable, salad (would be enough for 2 dinners)

Avoid food waste:
 
  • plan a leftover night once per week or plan a consecutive meal based on leftover ingredients.
  • for example, have grilled chicken with rice and steamed broccoli one night, and make a little extra broccoli and rice to use in frittata the next night.
  • have one shelf in your refrigerator with clear, see-through plastic containers with leftovers. Use for lunches, snacks or leftover night with a different meal for each person if necessary.

For more information or to join Coupon Mom, go to www.couponmom.com. For Media Inquiries, contact Nanette Noffsinger.

 

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Nanette
Nanette Noffsinger
(615) 776-4230
 
 
 
 
 
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