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Eating well doesn't have to cost a fortune! Our friend Max Lugavere is here, and the author of Genius Foods is showing us some genius tricks for scoring healthy produce, seafood, seasonings and more without breaking the bank. Basically, he's talking about how to eat healthy… without being wealthy!
Tip 1: Buy frozen produce instead of fresh.
"Frozen foods are just as nutritious as fresh," Max says. "And because they're usually frozen at the point of being picked and they don't have that urgency in terms of shipping — getting it to your supermarkets — they can be a lot cheaper."
When it comes to choosing which frozen fruits and veggies to pick, Max suggests berries and spinach.
Frozen berries are incredibly beneficial from a health standpoint and are a very low sugar fruit, according to Max. He also recommends buying frozen organic spinach, because like the berries, it will be a lot cheaper when compared to fresh organic spinach.
Tip 2: Try canned tuna, salmon or sardines.
Fish is good for our bodies in general, Max points out, but it's especially beneficial for our brains!
And while fresh seafood can be pricey, there's nothing wrong with buying canned fish. "When you're buying seafood — fresh or canned — make sure that you're buying sustainable seafood," Rach points out.
Wild salmon and sardines are great sources of minerals like selenium and vitamin B12, as well as omega-3 fats — "which are incredibly important for the brain," Max explains. Plus, when you buy canned seafood, it's more likely that the fish is going to be wild (rather than farmed).
Tip 3: Purchase bagged beans instead of canned.
"When it comes to legumes and dried food like nuts, you want to always buy bagged as opposed to cans," Max says.
When beans and legumes are bagged, they're dehydrated, but when they're in a can they're hydrated — meaning they're heavier — so you're paying more.
If you can, it's even better to bag dry items yourself from the bulk bins at the store, Max and Rach agree.
Tip 4: Be selective with your spices.
Save money by focusing on a few basic spices that you can use in combination to create dozens of different flavors, Max suggests. Less is more, after all!
He names extra virgin olive oil (an anti-inflammatory), cinnamon, sage and mustard seed powder as examples of simple ingredients that have major health benefits.
Max says that cinnamon can reduce post-meal blood sugar. And mustard seed powder — which he says he is "kind of obsessed with" — can be sprinkled on cooked cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage.
Because mustard is also a cruciferous vegetable, Max says the mustard seed powder intensifies the potential cancer-fighting activity of those vegetables. Plus, it's delicious!
Tip 5: Eat in season.
"Food that's grown locally when it's in season doesn't have to be shipped over long distances," Max says. "So it's going to cost less."
Tip 6: Choose organic produce carefully.
It can be difficult to know when you should buy organic versus conventional produce. Plus, organic fruits and vegetables can be more expensive. Luckily, Max has a tip that can help save you money in the produce aisle!
"A good rule of thumb is if it has a peel, you don't have to buy organic," he explains. Fruits like avocados and bananas don't need to be organic, Max says.
If you're eating the entire thing, that's when you want to buy organic. So focus on finding organic grapes, berries, tomatoes and apples — fruit with thin skin that you're going to be consuming.