How To Save On Your Summer Food Budget

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Photo credit: Bruce Turner

(StatePoint)  Between planning your family vacation, keeping the kids occupied and beating the heat, the summer can be a busy time for both you and your wallet. One place you shouldn’t have to hurt financially is in the grocery store.

There are several ways to save on your summer food budget that actually can improve your health in the process:

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Keep It Seasonal

One of the easiest ways to save is to focus on seasonal produce. Starting in the spring and continuing throughout summer, most produce is readily available at its freshest and cheapest. Vegetables are crisper, fruits are juicier and everyone is happier.

As the weather warms, you’ll find more vegetables in their prime, including carrots, spinach and rhubarb. By the summer months, fruits like cherries, strawberries and peaches are in season.

Healthy Benefits

Many of the seasonal fruits and vegetables foods that can keep your money in your wallet also can improve your chances of living a longer and healthier life.

“There’s plenty of research about the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed sugars, refined carbohydrates and fats” points out Howard Soule, chief scientist for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).

We all know that fruits and vegetables are more healthful than processed foods. But there also are many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances in colorful fruits and vegetables that lower the risk of cancer. And cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and horseradish, contain a substance that “sponges up” reactive oxygen molecules before they form free radicals that can mutate prostate cells. For more information about food and prostate cancer, visit www.pcf.org.

Also, preliminary data from some studies suggest that drinking beverages such as pomegranate juice and green and black tea may also increase antioxidant levels, meriting more study.

Not All Organic

While organic food has become increasingly popular, not all organic fruits and vegetables are created equal. Since certain organics can be expensive, the experts at the PCF have cultivated a list of “do not need to purchase organic” foods, including things like asparagus, cabbage, avocado, blueberries, watermelon, tomatoes and pineapple.

Purchasing these fruits and vegetables as organics isn’t a bad thing, but research shows they don’t offer the same value-added benefits as other organic produce.

Other Ways To Save

Look for price specials on poultry, but buy natural for the health benefits. Grains also can help with your budget. Since grains double or triple when cooking them, you get more for your buck. And since there is a huge variety available — such as brown rice, quinoa, wild rice and many others — you won’t get bored.

In an age where many pay a premium for health food, it’s not always easy to find foods that are healthful for both you and your bank account. With a little effort, you can assemble a smart grocery list that is both.


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