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August 3, 2011

Seven tips for frugal, healthful food shopping

Each week a nutritionist from University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post. This week, Rachel Ernzen writes about smart shopping.

When looking to cut food costs, time really is money. Investing the time to understand your spending habits, local food markets and options for discount purchases can make you a smarter shopper. Here are some tips for keeping good food on your plate and money in your wallet.

  • Make a grocery list and stick to it. Peek at what you already have available and try not to stray from your shopping list. If staying out of the store keeps impulse buys at bay, try home food-delivery services.
  • Learn more about how you spend your food dollar. Scan your latest grocery bill: What items do you spend the most on? Is this a food staple or splurge? Are there cheaper alternatives? Take a pass on prepared sweets and snacks.
  • Commit to checking your local grocer’s weekly specials before you shop. Consider buying in bulk and stocking up on versatile sale items that store well (dry pasta, canned goods or frozen foods). Think beans, rice and veggies. If you are unsure which fresh foods are best bought organic, access the Environmental Working Group’s wallet guide at:
  • Compare prices in the grocery aisle. The more processed the food, the more expensive it is. For example, a whole chicken will cost less per pound than pre-seasoned, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. While price per pound or price per unit should be evaluated, weigh the labor, yield and possible waste. Back to the chicken example: If you eat white meat only, swapping pre-seasoned breasts for a bone-in version may be a more cost-effective option.
  • Reach out to resources. Call your local food bank to learn more about public programs such as produce drops in your area (Maryland Food Bank,
Posted by Kim Walker at 7:30 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Nutrition


Whole foods in my opinion is still the best when considering quality and healthy.

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Andrea Siegel, a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covers mostly crime and courts in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, as well as legal issues. She wishes she was more physically fit, and, as she's more fond of chocolate than exercise, fitness is a challenge. Her partner on a one-mile-plus daily walk is the family dog, a mixed breed named Moxie, and she exercises at the gym where the D.C. snipers once worked out.
Jerry Jackson has been a photo editor at The Baltimore Sun for 14 years and an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. Inspired by the movie "Breaking Away," he started racing as a teenager in Mississippi when leather "brain baskets" were still the norm. He regularly commutes to work by bike and still enters several mountain bike races a year for fun.
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Patrick Maynard, who will be writing about running and walking, has been a producer for since 2008. In 2009, he tweeted on-course for the Sun from the Baltimore Marathon, finishing in just under 4 hours and almost managing to run the whole time. He sometimes walks to the Sun offices on Calvert Street.
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Leeann Adams, a multimedia editor at The Baltimore Sun, also dabbles in content for the mobile website and iPhone app and covers the Ravens via video. She did a triathlon to celebrate her 40th birthday and continues to swim, bike and run -- none of them quickly, though. Her biggest fitness challenge is to balance working, working out, spending time with her husband and being a mom to a 6-year-old boy.
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Anica Butler, the Sun's crime editor, is a former high school runner and recovering vegetarian who spent more of her early-adult years on a bar stool than working out. She is currently training (though poorly) for a half marathon and is trying to live a generally healthier lifestyle. She also hates the gym.
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