With her clever wit and wisdom, certified nutritional consultant (CNC), Leanne Ely, is bringing people back to the dinner tables each evening. Leanne has a simple philosophy, Make it and they will come. She is author of the Saving Dinner series; Leanne also dishes out recipes and advice with her syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva.

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Saving Dinner

by Leanne Ely, Certified Nutrition Counselor

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In the world of nutrition, there is a constant stream of information that (unfortunately) overwhelms most people. Yes, even nutritionists get overloaded with nutritional TMI!

10 Cheap Ways to Eat Better

Regardless, it still drills down to the basics that people often miss in their quest to be healthier. I've thought about this a lot as I stroll through the grocery store seeing what people have in their carts! It's absolutely mind-boggling what constitutes food in some people's minds and that they'll actually pay hard-earned money for some of this stuff.

So let's get serious and come up with 10 things you can implement easily for better health that won't cost you much money and you won't even have to think about (very much).

1) First Thirst. Water is cheap, readily available and will boost your health, your absorption of nutrients and give you great skin! What’s not to like about that? Before you order a soda, grab the juice or chub an iced tea, drink your water. Water first, then the other stuff. If you really want to save some cash, skip the other stuff entirely.

2) Big on Breakfast. Eating breakfast gets your metabolism started, your appetite handled and consequently, helps you to stabilize, maybe even lose weight!

3) Eat in Season. Fresh fruits and veggies can be expensive, but if you buy in season (take advantage of locally grown stuff), you're going to get superior quality and less cash outlay! If you keep a garden, you'll eat even healthier for WAY less!

4) Watch the Iceberg. There are FAR better lettuces out there. Iceberg is nearly nutritionally void. Just let the color GREEN be your guide; the greener, the better!

5) Get Blue. Throw some blueberries on your cereal this week. Blueberries (fresh or frozen) have more antioxidants and phytonutrients than any other vegetable or fruit on the planet! I like them in my steel cut oats in the morning.

6) Home Plate. Large salad plates work better for portion control than conventional dinner plates. Your plate should have a deck of cards-sized protein source and a fist-sized amount of complex carbs. The rest, pile high with veggies.

7) Brown Outs. Skip the white rice, white flour and sugar. Instead, go with whole-wheat flour, brown rice and use evaporated cane juice (also called Sucanat) instead of regular sugar.

8) Go Fish. Eat wild fish instead of farm-raised fish to enjoy the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids not found in farm-raised. You can find it on sale and flash frozen to save money. Wild salmon is an especially nutritious choice!

9) Better Butter. Use olive oil and butter whipped together. It spreads easier, is better for you and has less saturated fat than regular butter.

10) Shake the Salt. When cooking, use salt toward the end of cooking and only to add taste. Taste your food BEFORE you salt it and if you want to go hardcore, remove the shaker entirely from the table. And do yourself a favor, use sea salt. Much gentler and better tasting; you'll use less!

There you go. As you can see by the list, they’re pretty easy things to implement. You can take a few and run with them this week, then add a few more next week.

Leanne Ely, C.N.C. is a New York Times bestselling author and the Dinner Diva from SavingDinner.com. Check out her Losing it with Leanne program! You'll lose it TOO!

@ 12:13am ET on June 2, 2009
Great article.I miss this kind of information.Too often advices on eating right seems t be targeting mostly people with a good income,and their information is useless for many of us.Especially for retired people like myself.I think that to keep a reasonable good health by eating right is crucial for people my age.Please send more of the same,included some recepies!!!

@ 1:16pm ET on November 28, 2009
i ate 6 eggs and lot of bacon and sauges i need some help to loose lot of wight

@ 1:17pm ET on November 28, 2009
i ate steaks and porkchops and everything else to

@ 3:06pm ET on November 28, 2009
i eat stuff like chips eggs and crisps and choclate i am 13 years old and i wouldlike to loose weight and i hope this diet website will help me

@ 6:09pm ET on December 1, 2009
iwanna diet iwant to lose my wight

@ 5:43am ET on December 31, 2011
I am 16 Years old, and I do the primary grocery shopping for myself. Mainly because I am a vegetarian, and my family is not. These articles have helped me eat even healthier! I just joined today, and I already love this website. :)

@ 10:20pm ET on April 23, 2012
I don't what the big deal is of using sea salt over table salt. Anyone want to explain? :S
And if I'm using sea salt instead, where am I going to get my iodine from (a necessarily nutrient almost always added to table salt)?

@ 4:21pm ET on April 29, 2012
Thank you for the great tips. It's very easy to skip breakfast or grab a soda instead of water. I look forward to learning more.

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