TYLER (KYTX) - There's a myth that hard economic times mean you have to sacrifice your health when you go grocery shopping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture believes that's not so, but it does take a little planning to eat right on a budget.
A local chef, whose mission is to share the importance fresh foods for a healthy life, takes us shopping to find healthy deals.
Chef Christian Chavanne, who runs the healthy eating action team, spends a lot of time in the grocery isles and teaching kids the benefits of fresh food. "New crops are coming in, apples, squashes and cabbages," says Chef Christian.
He's always looking for the best bang for his buck and says you can too. "It's buying what is in season, pear, sweet potato in the fall, you buy fall vegetables," says Chef Christian. "You are going to get the freshest with the best nutritional value."
Shopping with the season just makes sense, so does shopping the circulars and sales. "Don't just reach out when you come into the store, then you will do impulse buying," says Chef Christian.
Right now, Chef Christian says you'll find fall fruits, like small golden delicious apples, that your entire family can enjoy. "You can have 4 of those for a for a dollar. It is about a pound and a quarter. This is so inexpensive," says Chef Christian.
If you're looking to save money on vegetables, Chef Christian likes seasonal squash. "This is one of my favorites, spaghetti squash. You just cut it in half and you pull out the little strings and put marinara sauce on it, totally healthy," says Chef Christian.
On this trip, spaghetti, butternut and acorn squash were all 88 cents a pound. Another way you can save some money is by buying in bulk. This 8 pound bag of oranges will cost you 62 cents a pound, if you buy this singular orange, it is $1.88 a pound. "In East Texas they have the best sweet potatoes."
Sweet potatoes are chalked full of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins A and C. "One large one like this, you can feed 4 people, 78 cents per pound.
Produce that are also in season-- bananas, papaya, cabbage, even bok choy and fennel. And for the adventurous, kale is being hailed as a new superfood. "It's like someone took a bunch of what's good for you and packed it into on fuzzy head vegetable," says Chef Christian. So with a little planning, feeding your family a nutritious meal doesn't have to bust your budget.
The USDA says getting enough of fruits and veggies in your diet can also cut your risk of certain diseases.