SPECIAL REPORT: Healthy eating - counting the cost - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Healthy eating - counting the cost

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

What we put into our bodies is top of mind for many. However, eating healthy isn't always easy, and cost is often an excuse to grab the junk food or unhealthier options.

For parents, it can be even harder with little ones to keep in mind.

"The hardest thing as a parent to grocery shop for healthy food is the cost, because I want to give my kids and my family balanced meals," said parent Grace Peters. "We can't afford to go organic, we can't afford to buy fresh all the time." 

Peters has two young kids and another on the way. She has grocery shopping down to a science.

"I spend most of my time in the produce and the meat section because that's what's healthiest obviously," said Peters.

We headed down the aisles of a local grocery store with Peters to get a gauge on how much she spends and how she tries to find a balance of eating healthy on a budget.

"We love peppers, they're a good snack," said Peters. "We try to stay away from a lot of the processed yogurts and things like that."

Peters said she changes what she buys seasonally as well. This time of year, she buys oranges, apples and bananas compared to buying pineapples and berries.

We had Peters grab about a weeks worth of food which included breads, fruits, veggies and meats. Most of it was healthy and fresh outside of chicken nuggets and some sugary cereal. The grand total came to $127.22

Afterward, we headed down the aisles with a nutritionist to give you a look at common mistakes and healthy tips.

"I like to be a frugal shopper myself, so I try to watch for what's in season, use more of those foods that are nutritious," said Kristen Schulte, a clinical dietitian at the Marshfield Clinic. "Meat is usually your most expensive grocery item, so if you can think of recipes that help stretch your meat, like stir fries or soups or stews or casseroles."

Schulte said looking for sales and checking labels for things like fiber and sugar are vital. She said a common mistake comes to serving size.

"Check how many servings are in container, when you buy a big bag of apples, a big back of fruit, break it down," said Schulte. "How many meals are you getting out of that."

We grabbed about a weeks worth of groceries again. While the carts were relatively similar, Schulte grabbed items like frozen, bagged chicken and canned chicken to cut down on costs. She took out some other meat like bacon and ground beef.

The new total, $79.95

Showing that you don't need to spend a lot to eat healthy.

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