The Pryor Times


March 29, 2014

TOPS tips for eating better on a budget

PRYOR, OK — Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, Pryor Chapter 142, has some helpful tips for making grocery dollars stretch a bit further while sticking to a healthy lifestyle.

“First, don’t pay for prep work,” said Chapter Leader Karen Jackson. “Typically, foods that are pre-prepped and pre-packaged cost more than if you were to buy the same food and do the work yourself. For example, buying a pound of carrots or a head of cauliflower is generally cheaper than buying baby carrots or already chopped cauliflower.”

Jackson said another tip is to buy produce when it is in season. Buying produce in the wrong time of year usually costs a pretty penny as opposed to things more readily available during those months.

“One of my favorite tricks is to drink water or chew gum while grocery shopping. We all know to never shop hungry or without a list, but those don’t keep you from getting some junk food cravings while cruising the store aisles. Staying full and focused will keep you from making impulse buys,” said Jackson.

She also said it’s important to store produce correctly, to avoid throwing away money in spoiled foods. She suggests doing some research to find which foods should be stored at room temperature and which should be refrigerated to avoid food going bad too soon.

“Also, get creative with your leftovers. Find a way to use every part of your grocery purchases, even if you have to use it in a different way,” Jackson said.

Her TOPS group recommends getting creative with protein sources.

“Let’s face it, meat is expensive but a meal doesn’t always feel like a meal without some sort of meat or protein source. Consider starting Meatless Mondays, one day a week of meat free meals won’t make you feel deprived but it will help out your grocery budget,” said Jackson.

Lastly, Jackson said, don’t use budget as an excuse to eat poorly.

“Typically, a large pizza and an order of breadsticks costs between $20 and $25. For that price you can get one pound of turkey sausage, one pound of frozen tilapia, one jar of peanut butter, one pound of lentils or beans and one box of cereal,” said Jackson. “For roughly the same price as a 24-pack of soda, you can buy a cucumber, a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables, one pound of grapes, one pound of bananas and one pound of brown rice.”

TOPS meets at 5 p.m. every Thursday at First Free Will Baptist Church, Pryor. For more information call Karen at 918-825-0631.

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