Eat In or Take Out?

Vegetables So I’ve been cooking at home more lately. Even though food
delivery is ridiculously convenient in Manhattan, it’s not cheap. (And takeout
certainly isn’t the best way to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.)

It seems I’m in good company. Two out of three U.S. adults
have altered their cooking and eating habits due to the economy, and about half
are eating dinner at home more often, according to a recent survey from Whole
Foods Market.

Other findings:

- 54% say they cook because it saves them money

- 37% say they budget food shopping trips more strictly

- 28% focus meals on inexpensive pantry staples like beans
and whole grains

Cooking can definitely be less expensive (and healthier) than
eating out. Here are some strategies for stretching your healthy grocery
shopping dollar:

Get protein from non-meat sources. Eggs and beans are
easier on your wallet than lean beef or chicken. Have “breakfast for dinner”
once a week, or have your family make their own burritos.

Buy in season. You’ll never catch me trying to buy
fresh raspberries in the wintertime. Way too pricey. But they’re in season now
in my area, as are blueberries, plums and grapes. Find out what’s growing in
your state on this handy Seasonal Ingredient Map from Epicurious.

Try frozen. When produce isn’t looking so fine, or the
price tag makes you see stars, steer thyself to the freezer section. Since
fruits and veggies are often flash-frozen at the peak of freshness, it’s still a
nutrient-rich choice. Try throwing frozen blueberries into your smoothies or
frozen peppers into a stir-fry.

Trade out. I clip healthy recipes from magazines or
online sites all the time, but I don’t always follow them exactly. If a cheaper
veggie or meat would work just as well in the mix, I do my own budget
substitutions.

Are you cooking more lately? How do you save on groceries?

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