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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Save Money on Groceries - Avoid These 5 Food Fads

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - You don’t have to get very far down the aisle at the grocery store to realize that a dollar doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. In fact, food prices start the new year more than 6 percent higher than in the past, only energy costs have gone up more.* But experts say there are ways to cut your food bill without sacrificing nutrition, identifying five food fads to avoid if you want to eat right and spend less.

Like most of us Kandi Ziccardi has to plan her trips to the grocery store. Getting food that’s on her list and trying to stay in her budget takes some strategy.

“I stick to some of the basics, try to skip by some of the aisles that I know I don’t need anything in, just so I don’t pick things up impulsively,” says Kandi.

It’s an effective way to shop and helps Kandi avoid some costly mistakes. Doctor Robert Murray of Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a renowned nutritionist, who says there are are five fad foods you should avoid when price is a priority.

First, think twice about organic foods. If you buy organic for environmental reasons or as a lifestyle choice, that’s fine, but...

“In these times when the economy’s tough and you’re trying to make every dollar count , from a nutritional point of view, there’s no benefit to buying organic and paying that premium,” says Dr. Murray.

Next, avoid falling for designer fruits and vegetables. Fruits like pomegranates and acai fruit are chic, but blueberries and plums are just as healthy and much cheaper. Also, Don’t assume fresh is always best. Buying food in bulk, either frozen or canned can save a lot of money.

“The nutritional quality of frozen and canned, is equal to that of fresh. And consumers need to take advantage of that,” says Dr. Murray.

The next fad to be aware of is pre-packaged foods. For example, buying carrots and cutting them yourself is much cheaper than buying items that are pre-sliced. And finally, be careful of drinks that are fortified with vitamins or minerals. Not only do they cost more, but they often have more calories
than you’d think.

“Keep in mind, that some of these things, they are described as vitamin water, but there’s 150 calories in this - just as there is in a 12 ounce Coke,” says Dr. Murray.

Here’s one more tip, experts suggest buying larger quantities of fruits, like blueberries, in the summer when they’re plentiful. Freeze them in a zip lock bag and use them throughout the year. The next time you go shopping, keep these five food fads in mind if you want to keep your family and your budget lean.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index - Month Ending October 2008 (the latest available data as of this writing), United States Department of Labor, retrieved at

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