The Miracle Money Saving Healthy Grocery Shopping Tip

Healthier eating does not have to break your budget.

We’ve reviewed hundreds of videos and articles on the many ways to stretch your grocery dollar. Some of the classic staples of supermarket money saving tips are to: monitor and take advantage of sales, find deals then use and stack coupons to stock up the pantry; create a menu plan shopping list and then stick to your list; shop the perimeter of the market; cut back on meat; and buy only what you’ll actually use in bulk. All great pointers.

But one of the best and easiest grocery money saving ideas is one that sounds almost too good to be true:  Not only does it save you money, it may provide vital health benefits to you and your family – and if that isn’t enough, it also helps to boost your local economy and lower environmental pollution. This miracle money saving tip is: Shop locally grown and seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and products.

You and your family, your health, your budget, and your neighbors, won’t go wrong by incorporating more of these local healthier food choices into your shopping routine as much as possible. However one of the major dilemmas encountered when trying to shop local and seasonal is, how to know what is in season, when and where – particularly in those geographic areas that experience seasonal changes and severe winter weather.  One of the easiest things you can do is to check with your supermarket and find out if they carry and identify locally grown or produced items. But to further help you in your menu planning and shopping strategies, we’re providing links to search-able online databases for local resources and to the lists of U.S. seasonal produce by geographic region from about.com. We know these online services will help you shop easier, healthier, and more neighbor and budget friendly.

Searchable online databases for local resources:

Local Harvest -  This is a free search engine providing a nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources which is search-able by zip code and/or city and state. Local Harvest’s online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area.

Eat Well Guide – This is a free online directory of fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the United States and Canada, which includes restaurants, family farms, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, U-pick orchards and more.  Users can search by location, keyword, category or product to find good food, download customized guides, or plan a trip with the innovative mapping tool to Eat Well Everywhere.

Find Local Produce - A free searchable map gives you which local produce is available in your area, the time of year it is available, and where you can purchase it. It is free to search and also free to be listed as a resource, but growers and suppliers do pay a fee if they want an upgraded listing to provide more details of what they offer. A portion of all proceeds go to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire.

Lists of U.S. seasonal produce by geographic region fromAbout.com:

Midwestern Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables - A guide to seasonal fruits and vegetables in the Midwest. Find out what’s growing when in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Northeast Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables - Find Northeast harvest times for your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Pacific Northwest Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables – Seasonality Guide - Find what’s in season in the Pacific Northwest, from boysenberries to zucchini.

Southern Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables – Find Southern seasonal fruits and vegetables with this guide to what’s in season in Southern states.

Southwestern Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables - Find seasonal fruits and vegetables in season in the American Southwest.

Upper-Midwestern Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables – What crops are grown and when are they harvested in the upper-midwest? This guide gives harvest months for produce grown in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

More healthy money saving video pointers too good to pass up:

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