Eating healthy need not bust the budget

COLUMBUS, OHIO; November 9, 2008

Like most of us,Kelly Urse is feeling the pinch of higher prices on her food budget.

She and her daughters are now planning their meals more carefully than ever.

Kelly says, "We shop the ads, we look for those flyers that come every week in the neighborhood newspaper, and we're certainly looking for coupons."

To save money, more people are now turning to processed foods.

And fast food restaurant operators are trying to fuel that, by offering special deals. But those foods can be unhealthy.

Dietitians at Ohio State University say you don't have to sacrifice nutrition -

Just pick their top foods - starting with the tomato.

Registered dietitian and food researcher Shirley Kindrick, Ph.D., says, "Always cheap, no matter what time of year it is. And you can buy tomatoes already canned with lots of extra herbs and spices in them."

Cooking tomatoes actually concentrates their power to fight diseases like cancer.

Kindrick says tomato soups, and spaghetti sauces pack a lot of punch for the dollar.

And if you want to cut your costs on meat.

"One of the first things that comes to mind is beans. Beans are an excellent source of protein and what's our highest-cost item in the grocery store? It's our meats," she says.

Next - oatmeal.

It's much more than a breakfast food.

She notes, "We often overlook the importance of oatmeal. and that's a whole grain that we know will lower our cholesterol."

And last, dry pasta - even macaroni - can help make the most of leftovers.

"So throw in that broccoli, maybe you have some leftover meat, throw that in there and you've got a great meal for not very much, and it didn't take you very long," she says.

Dietitians say this is a good time to think about portion control.

Less on your plate means fewer calories - and more in your wallet.

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