Shop Smart for Fruits and Vegetables

You can get the fruits and vegetables you need without spending a lot of money. You can find them in the store in many different forms. Fresh fruits and vegetables have the same vitamins and minerals as ones that are canned, dried or frozen.

Fresh fruits and vegetables usually cost less and are the best quality when they are in season. In the late spring, summer and early fall, you can choose from a variety of fruits and vegetables that are grown in New England. You can shop at Farmers' Markets and farm stands or pick your own. During the winter months you may pay more and have less variety. Check supermarket flyers for apples, oranges, broccoli, potatoes and other produce that may be on special from week to week. Buy only amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can use or store properly so they don't spoil.

Watch for specials on canned and frozen products your family likes. Stock up on these foods if you can store them properly. Usually store brands cost less than nationally advertised brands. The only difference may be in the way the food looks. The color may not be as bright or the texture may not be as smooth as some national brands. You can save money and still get the nutrients you need from these fruits and vegetables.

When you buy canned or frozen fruits and vegetables look out for added sugar, salt and fat. To help cut down on sugar, choose canned fruits packed in juice instead of syrup. To reduce the amount of sodium in canned vegetables, look for canned vegetables with no salt added. Another way to cut down on the sodium in canned vegetables is to drain the liquid from the can. Use a small amount of water to heat the vegetable. Frozen vegetables with seasoning or sauces usually cost about twice as much as plain frozen vegetables. You can save money when you make your own sauce and add your own seasonings.

Add variety to your meals and snacks by trying new kinds of fruits and vegetables. When you compare prices and types of fruits and vegetables that are available at your store or farm stand, you can keep your food costs down and get the nutrients you need.


Adapted from: "Your Money's Worth in Foods," Human Nutrition Information Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Home and Garden Bulletin 183, September 1994.


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