Food for thought: How to pick the best on a budget

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by Mia Gradney

KHOU

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 8:36 PM

HOUSTON, Texas — We all want to feed our families the best food, but the family budget often dictates what we buy. 

Germaine Rosenkranz tries to keep a well stocked fridge and pantry. She spends $250 to $300 a week to feed her husband and four children. 
 
“In order to make five lunches a day and get everybody snacks after school and prepared for their sports, it gets to be hefty,” Rosenkranz said. “But there are some things I’m definitely picky about at the grocery store.”
 
Rosenkranz likes gourmet salt, but she’s especially picky about produce. She should be, says registered dietitian and author Monica Bearden. On a trip to a grocery store she explains why consumers should splurge on certain items and save on others, like certain fruits and vegetables.
 
“You don’t need to buy organic mangoes or avocados. These are actually lowest in pesticides. The Environmental Working Group tests fruits and produce across the U.S. Every year and these come up the cleanest,” Bearden said.
 
Among the dirtiest, per the EWG, are blueberries and strawberries. They are on the agency’s Dirty Dozen List. Others at the top of the list include: apples, celery, sweet bell pepper, and peaches.
Past the pesticides, Bearden educates consumers on other savings for your wallet, waistline and heart health. 
 
“Tossing the salt is the best way to go,” she urges. “Using spices in your cooking is much healthier.” 
 
Another big savings, she points out, is something you may sip on every morning. 
 
“When it comes to buying orange juice, go ahead and save and buy the frozen from concentrate,” she said. “It’s just as healthy as bottled orange juice and you save a couple of bucks.”
 
Do you like ketchup on your eggs? When it comes to the popular condiments, seek out organic.
 
“You get less pesticides and higher antioxidants,” Bearden said.
 
It’s another healthy and cash-conscious buy for consumers who are looking to save, but not sacrifice.

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