New Year’s Resolutions: Eat healthy, save money

New Year’s Resolutions: Eat healthy, save money

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Greetings neighbors! 2014 is in full swing. Are you tired of the snow yet? I know I’ve had my fill, but on a positive note, shoveling snow is a great workout!

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? The two most popular goals at the start of another year are losing weight and saving money. Sometimes, it seems like those two objectives are at odds with each other. You may see a jump in your expenses when you start adding more fresh, healthy foods to your diet. That $1.50 frozen pizza starts to look pretty appetizing when compared with a larger grocery bill. Here are some ways to find fresh, nutritious foods on the cheap.

  • Shop someplace new: The Aldi chain of grocery stores has been a well-kept secret for those looking to pinch pennies when they grocery shop. It’s a great place to get items like eggs, nuts, and frozen vegetables. (Take your own bags–the store does not provide them–and be prepared to “rent” a cart for 25 cents. They also don’t take coupons.)
  • Think local: Farmer’s markets are a great place to get deals on produce. Many vendors are willing to give you a deal on their items, especially if it is toward the end of the day or you’re buying several things.
  • Think local AND global: International food markets are an amazing place to get fruits and veggies for smoothies, stir-fries, and salads. $2.50 for one mango? No thanks…I can get them 3/$1 at the Tienda Mexicana down the street! Bulk rice, a variety of teas, and unique spices can be found at many Asian markets around town.
  • Look for foods on their way out: If you know you’re going to use an item within the next 24 hours, you can often save a little bit of money on produce that is just about to be past it’s prime.
  • Share and share alike: I love cabbage, but by the time I eat half of it, I’m tired of it. So before cooking it, I slice it in half and share it with a friend.
  • Take advantage of the freezer: Found a great deal on your favorite fresh green beans? Buy more than you need and freeze them. A general rule of thumb is that the less water in an item, the better it will freeze. For small items like strawberries or brussel sprouts, freeze them flat on a cookie sheet and transfer to food-safe containers. Frozen vegetables are a very economical way to increase your produce intake.
  • Cut costs in other areas: While it’s uncommon to find coupons for produce, you can save on other aisles of the grocery store by checking your local paper for sales and manufacturer’s discounts. That money you saved on toothpaste, paper towels, and detergent can be applied to your overall grocery bill. Stores are filled with prepared items that claim to be “healthy,” “low-fat,” or “low-cal” but have little nutritional value and come with a high price tag. The bottom line? If it comes in a package, you can probably find a healthier and cheaper option somewhere else.

The next Northeast Corridor Quality of Life meeting is this Thursday, January 23rd from 6-8 pm at the Crosstown Community Center (Little Bethel) 3279 Winthrop Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46205. This is the last planning meeting before the Community Unveiling on March 28th (the February meeting will be a rehearsal for the 3/28 event), so come make your voice heard!

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