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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.
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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
--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
--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.