April 17, 2009

In tough times, people seek comfort food

The cuisine of choice in a hurting economy tends to be fattening comfort or fast-food, a U.S. dietitian says.

However, just because funds are tight that doesn't mean pants have be to tight too, Gina Bucciferro, clinical dietitian at Loyola University Health System in Chicago, said in a statement.

As a registered dietitian who loves to cook, I have learned there are ways you can save money while maintaining a healthy diet, Bucciferro said.

Bucciferro suggests:

-- Be aware of what is in season. For example, buy watermelon in the summer and apples in the fall.

-- Prepare before shopping. Check your shelves at home so you don't buy items you already have and stick to your list. Check the store ads for sales and have coupons ready.

-- Be aware of dates. Make sure you will be able to eat the food before the expiration dates.

If you notice vegetables, herbs or meat in your fridge that you won't be able to use, chop them, wrap them up and freeze them, Bucciferro said. They'll retain their nutrients and you'll have an easy meal for busy days.