Eating Well on a Budget: Part 2 – Fruits
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Eating Well on a Budget: Part 2 – Fruits

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
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Eating Well on a Budget: Part 1 – Introduction

Not only is fruit extremely good for you and necessary for overall health, but it’s versatile and easy to fit into your diet throughout the day! The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of 14 fruits that provide you with the most nutrition at the lowest cost. All of these fruits are low in sugar and toxic pesticides and chock full of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. Each member of your family should aim for two servings of fruit a day. The Environmental Working Group recommends spending about $5.00 on fruit for every $25 spent on your overall food budget.

The Environmental Working Group’s list of fruits include: apricot, avocado, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, papaya, pear, starfruit, and tangerine, with banana, orange juice, domestic nectarines, pears, and watermelon providing the best value. They recommend that you limit your juice intake to just 1 cup a day. Often, juice is packed with sugar and you can get more nutrition from eating whole fruits anyway.

Citrus fruits like tangerines or grapefruit are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which keep your immune system in top shape to help you fight off sickness. Vitamin C is also fantastic for your skin and keeps you feeling healthy. Fiber rich foods like pears are necessary for digestive health and help keep your energy levels up. Avocado is packed with healthy oils and good fats that fill you with energy and keep your skin looking great.

There are several ways to eat your two daily servings. If you’re a fan of oranges or tangerines, you can try slicing them up and adding them to your favorite salad. Orange juice can be used to make sauces or marinades for your favorite meats. Avocados are super versatile and are fantastic on sandwiches, in salads, or simply mashed up in your favorite guacamole! Of course, any fruit can be enjoyed fresh as a snack, or you can enjoy dried fruits. Be careful, many dried fruits are high in sugar, so check those labels!

If you’re concerned about using all of your fruit before it goes bad, try freezing some of it. You can use the frozen fruit to make smoothies or as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream.

Shopping for fruit seasonally will help you save money. It’s necessary if you’re committed to sticking to an organic diet. You can also shop at your local farmer’s market. You can often find fruit at the farmer’s market for a fraction of what you’d spend at the grocery store. An added bonus is that you can often sample fruits before buying. You’ll not only get to test the quality of the product, but you just might get to discover a new fruit you’ve never tasted before!

Next Up: Eating Well On a Budget: Part 3 – Vegetables

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.