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How to Save Money on Healthy Foods

Takeout meals add up quickly in dollars and calories, so cooking at home is clearly better for your waistline and your wallet. But prepping healthy meals isn’t always cheap—especially when it comes to specialty ingredients like smoothie boosters, seeds, fancy oils, and organic ingredients. But a few money-saving tricks can save you a ton of cash.  Also, try one of these 7 Cooking Secrets That Slash Time, Money, and Calories.

Check Out Ethnic Markets
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Whether you’re looking for tahini or jasmine rice, ethnic markets can be “gold mines” for specialty items says Beth Moncel, who blogs at budgetbytes.com. She especially likes to scope out oils, spices, grains, seeds, and fresh vegetables at these shops. (See 4 Health Benefits of Fall Spices for more reasons to stock your spice rack.)

Shop at Thrive Market
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For a $60 annual membership fee, this website will give you access to organic, all-natural products and brands (including specialty items) for a 25 to 50 percent discount. They've got items for every diet, including vegan, Paleo, nut-free, gluten-free, and more, as well as organic, non-toxic cleaning products and beauty supplies. Plus, the company donates a membership to a low-income family for every paid one—so while you eat healthier for less, so does someone else.

Hit the Bulk Bins Aisle
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That’s where blogger Kathryne Taylor, who blogs at cookieandkate.com, finds the best prices on everything from almonds to hemp seeds. When you get the food home, store it properly! “Heat, light and air are whole foods' worst enemies. I keep my nuts and seeds (including chia seeds and hemp seeds) stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator, where they'll last longer. I don't have room in the refrigerator for my flours, so I store those in air-tight containers in a dark cabinet,” she says.

Buy Meat Straight From the Farm
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If you’ve got a big freezer (or a group of friends willing to split the goods and cost with you) Zaycon Foods can help you save cash on locally grown meat. Sign up for the service and you’ll get an email when there’s a delivery in your area. Then place an online order for chicken, beef, pork products, and fish in 15 to 40 pound cases. On the scheduled distribution day, just drive to a refrigerated truck. Since you’re buying from local farmers, you pay less than at retail—typically about 35 percent—and your meat will be fresh.

Refer a Friend
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Laura Machell, who blogs at thegreenforks.com, takes advantage of vitacost.com’s referral programs. Not only does the site offer great discounts on health foods and supplements, but when a friend makes a purchase through your link, you each save $10. “I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by promoting their site,” says Machell.

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