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Eating Better on a Budget

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

January 02, 2013

Grocery shoppers minding their wallet might balk at words like “organic” or “all-natural” thinking those terms carry with them an inherent hefty price tag. True, eating high-calorie pre-packaged or fast food might seem like a bargain on the front end, but can later result in large health costs.

Those on even the strictest of budgets can score a healthier bang for their buck by planning ahead when grocery shopping. The Florida Department of Health wants shoppers to remember that for practical purchases, choose foods with the most nutrition and not necessarily the most calories.

Meat Me at a Bargain

Meat and fish are the priciest. However, these are prime areas where bargains can be found. The Department of Health gives the following tried-and-true advice:

  • Buy large packs of meat and fish, then freeze in portions—pay attention to per-pound or per-ounce costs in relation to the overall package price. This might seem more expensive on the front end, but will yield a cheaper long-term cost.
  • Study the bone and fat content in the meats you’re buying and go for leaner packages so you’re not wasting money on parts you don’t eat.
  • Resource: Find your local farmers’ markets and co-ops at

Pocket-Friendly Produce

Produce that is in-season should always be cheapest. Follow this rule of thumb when buying fruits and veggies: Fresh, then frozen, then canned. Fresh being best and canned being an acceptable alternative when fresh or frozen is not available.

  • Purchase bags or baskets (such as those found at a farmer’s market) of fruit rather than single-priced pieces.
  • A half-gallon jug of 100 percent orange juice can’t compete in price with a 99-cent 2-liter orange soda—but where you saved on other items, buying all natural juice is well worth the cost.
  • A major way to save: Instead of buying sweetened fruit juice, buy the fruit.
  • Resource: Find out what’s in season now
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