Sarah Krieger spent Monday cooking meals for the next few days and her technique is saving her family hundreds each year.
"Unfortunately people don't plan their meals," said Krieger, who is a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "In the morning: I want to know what I'm eating for dinner that day."
Krieger, who has many clients on a budget, often suggests several ways families can save money while eating healthy this new year.
"When you plan ahead - you're going to win - you're not going to be eating at a restaurant or quick-service," she said.
Krieger, who is a mother of three, plans her trips to the grocery store. When it comes to buying meat, she said shopping around before you make it into the store is the way to go.
"Buy what's on sale because that's really where you can start to save some money," she said as she prepared a fresh meal of fish and stuffed peppers in her kitchen. "As far as fruits as vegetables - all these things I have here - are local."
Krieger found a huge bag of peppers at a local fruit and produce stand for $1, about 75 percent less than what she would've paid for it normally. She said, despite some people's misconceptions that these stores are pricey, she finds deals at them all the time; especially now.
"It's a great time of year," she said. "December to July is our time of the year. Buy local as much as possible because it doesn't have to take that expensive plane ride from other parts of the World to get here."
Krieger suggests that you know your neighborhood and your commute and find a market you pass everyday on your way to work or school.
"These mom and pop fruitstands … they have connections to Plant City, Ruskin and Miami," she said. "So we want to re-enforce that because A) it'll be less cost to us B) the nutrition will be higher."
She says learning closing time at these local stands can pay off as well.
"If you got there before they're closing for the day … sometimes they'll mark things down."
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