ABC7 On Your Side: Generic brands

The recession has many living hand to mouth, changing the way we shop. Carts aren't stocked to the gills and the visits are less frequent, but that doesn't mean your diet need to suffer. Planning meals, sticking to a grocery list, and using coupons of favorite foods are a few smart tips.

"The common advice is to shop the perimeter of your store, go to dairy aisle, go to the produce aisle," said Christine Palumbo, dietitian.

That's because most products in the middle aisles feature snacks and processed food.

"If you are making fruits and vegetables the center of your diet and cutting back on meats, which is much more expensive, you're going to be following a healthier diet and you'll save money," said Lisa Gosselin,

Experts suggest a proper portion plate plan as well.

"Consider your plate as a circle and maybe a quarter of it be meat, a quarter of it be starch, and then let the rest be veggies," said Palumbo.

"The value brands are going to give shoppers the most affordable option," said Denise Osterhues, Kroger.

At Kroger grocery stores, their Private Selections label grossed more than a billion dollars last year.

A product like peanut butter which offers a reasonably similar taste can cost anywhere from .50 to $1.00 less choosing generic over a name brand.

Buying starches like pasta, rice or noodles in bulk cuts cost along with only buying produce in season. Frozen fish as well as frozen berries usually cost quite a bit less than fresh yet both are just as healthy.

It's also time to rethink your drink.

"Instead of bringing home pricey sodas, drink water," said Palumbo.

And don't forget about food you already have. Turn one meal into three by planning ahead.



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