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6 ways to eat low-carb for less

Want to adopt a low-carb lifestyle that's also financially friendly? No problem, according to Marie Almon, the dietician who helped develop the popular South Beach diet.

The trick, she says, is "shopping around." Almon did just that in several South Florida grocery stores and here's her advice:

1. Use meat market smarts. Lean meats are a staple of the South Beach menu. But you can reach for less-expensive cuts of beef. A round steak over a tenderloin will save you 50 percent, says Almon. Or substitute a pork loin for sirloin steak and slice more than 60 percent of the cost.

2. Prep your own poultry. Buy chicken with the skin and bone still on and do the knife work yourself. While you pay per pound for the skin and bones, Almon finds dieters can also cut more than 50 percent of the cost. Extra points: Get the chicken in bulk at a discount store when the price is really low.

3. Investigate frozen or canned choices. Almon found fresh green beans for $1.49 per pound. But she could have picked up three cans of the same thing for $1 or a big bag of frozen beans for $1.19. And both would have produced more servings than a pound of the fresh variety, which tends to "cook down," she says.

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4. Eat with the seasons. In the winter, imported strawberries are expensive. But apples are plentiful and cheap. So instead of that strawberry dessert, prepare the same dish with apples.

5. Less processed often means lower priced. One good example: oatmeal. Just because you're eating low carb, doesn't mean you banish all the carbs from the table. Oatmeal is loaded with fiber and costs "pennies per serving," making it a smart choice for your body and your wallet, says Almon.

6. Look for substitutions that make sense. Don't want to pay top dollar for bacon? Lean boiled ham is much less expensive and fills the same purpose in many menus. And canola oil has the same healthy fat benefits as olive oil for less than half the price.

-- Compiled by Dana Dratch

-- Updated: Feb. 2, 2005
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See Also
Main: How much is your diet costing you?
10 secrets of the weight-loss industry
Low-cost ways to lose a pound of flesh (or 10)
Financial advice glossary
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