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Diet Talk from the Doc
by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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The secret to eating healthier on a budget is being willing to cook at home, says certified master chef, Mark Erickson. But since most people don't have time to cook elaborate healthy meals, Erickson has developed some inexpensive shortcuts to lure us all back to the kitchen.

Some of Erickson's secrets include investing in some good, basic tools that make food preparation faster like a good paring knife and a chef's knife, being your own butcher by buying whole chickens instead of more expensive chicken breasts, making "planned overs" by cooking only once but reusing parts of your meal for other dinners or lunch the next day, brewing your own coffee and bringing to work in a thermos and buying frozen fruits year round for less money than fresh.

To read the full article, click here:
Nutrition, On the Cheap

Dr. Diet weighs in:

When I see the fast food commercials that say you can feed a family of 4 with a bucket of chicken for $9.99, I realize why we have our work cut out for us trying to find budget-friendly ways to help dieters eat healthier and prepare healthier meals for their families.

I've discussed before how the cheap costs of fast food don't take into account the increased costs of medical care, medications and time off from work that can result from eating a higher fat and calorie diet and becoming overweight. Studies have shown that the more people eat out, the more calories and fat they eat.

I agree with Erickson that when you commit to cooking more at home, you will be more in control of what you eat and how much you spend.

I also think that in today's fast-paced world, time is money. So only you can decide if certain activities are worth your time such as:

--being your own butcher

--cutting up your own veggies and fruit

--batch cooking

--making your own coffee

--frequenting Warehouse Clubs like Costco where you can buy a large piece of salmon, cut it up and freeze individual portions

--cutting coupons

--shopping the sales

--going to a farmer's market to buy what's fresh and in season

What other ways can you save money by "DIY'ing"? Share in the comments below.

@ 2:41pm ET on May 4, 2007 Remember too those 'feed a family of four' deals usually have only 8-12 pieces (small) of chicken and they are filling you up on the fake mashed potatoes and starches instead. I can buy bag of chicken breasts at costco for $9.99 (20 breast pieces per bag), a 5 pound bag of potatoes for $1.25 and and make enough mixed greens and veggie salad to fill a giant bowl for another $4. ... so enough food for multiple meals for less than $16.00 BUT I LOVE TO COOK AT HOME... I made a veggie stir fry at home last night with diced chicken breast added and ended up with at least 8 servings for well under $10.00 ... cooking is a lost art who's loss just adds to the obesity problem.
@ 3:02pm ET on May 4, 2007 Breezy is right. I personally don't have a ton of time to cook / eat at home but I KNOW eating out is expensive and eating healthy out is hard!The problem is how much people will waste on food at home. More goes into the trash than people's mouths.
@ 6:29pm ET on May 6, 2007 I agree with the doctor, time is short, and if I had more of it, I wouldn't find myself buying pre-cut chicken breasts for salad, but I simply dont. One thing I have learned to do is make cooking at home into time spent with my husband.
@ 1:38am ET on August 19, 2012 I am a single mother with a 17 year old daughter who is also very overweight. I work nights so I do all my snacking and eating late at night and I go out to eat all the time cause I am tired. What would be some suggestions for me and my daughter?
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