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Q: I'm on a tight budget. What are some easy ways to save money on healthy foods?

A: Plan a week's worth of home-cooked meals in advance, and use the six tips below to start shopping for affordable health food. Can't avoid eating out? Order off the lunch menu. Lunch menu items are typically less expensive and the portions are smaller. If you order a full meal, split it in half and finish the other half later.

  1. Buy frozen vegetables. You can get a pound of frozen veggies (about 5-6 servings) for a buck, and they keep for up to six months in the freezer. Steam frozen veggies to preserve the nutrients.
  2. Choose in-season fruits. Head to your local farmer's market to buy fruit. It's typically less expensive than at the grocery store.
  3. Opt for canned meat and fish. Stock up on lean protein with canned tuna, salmon and chicken. Don't buy the pouches—they're over-priced.
  4. Join Costco. You'll spend more up front, but buying staples items like rice, oatmeal, and cereal in bulk will help you save over time.
  5. Start your day with oatmeal. A canister of oatmeal is inexpensive and filling. Dress up a bowl with dried fruit, brown sugar, honey, or sliced nuts.
  6. Brew your own coffee and tea. Instead of hitting up your nearest Starbucks, brew your cup of Joe at home. You can save as much as $5 a day!

Tags: Beverages, Health, Eating Out, Cooking, Q&A, Food