Cheapest, Guilt-Free Foods

Locally-grown… Farm Fresh… Artisanal…. You hear these retail food "buzz" words all the time but with their hefty price tags, you have to wonder if it's all just hype.

While some upscale foods are more environmentally friendly, experts like Dr. Oz, as well, as Cooking Light's contributing editor Allison Fishman, say they don't necessarily provide more nutritional benefit.

"Supermarkets sometimes get a bad rap because people feel guilty when they're buying a frozen vegetable or a canned vegetable instead of the beautiful fresh vegetables," says Fishman. "But research shows that there are just as many healthy choices at the grocery store as there are at the farmer's market."

Bottom line: healthy-eating doesn't have to mean expensive eating. Here are five foods that you can buy cheaply - guilt free.

Frozen Vegetables

We talk a lot about the value in buying frozen veggies on this show, and there's a reason for that-they're a great buy, especially in the winter when the fresh variety can be expensive. Due to flash-freezing techniques frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and up to 80% less expensive.

Canned Goods

"Two types of canned foods I love: any kind of tomato and canned beans," says Fishman. "One thing to remember: Always opt for low sodium with all canned products."

Also canned meats like tuna, chicken and salmon are really affordable, about half the cost of the meat counter variety and for some recipes, just as delicious.

Oatmeal

When it comes to steel cut, organic or flavored oatmeal, which is best? "An oat is an oat," says Fishman. "Whether it's rolled or whole, you're getting the same nutritional benefit. Both are whole grains and terrific for you." To get the most bang for your buck, purchase oats either in bulk or opt for a generic brand.

Chocolate

You see so many artisanal chocolates these days, but is there anything wrong with your regular bar of Hershey's?

Absolutely not, says Fishman. Your run-of-the-mill big-brand chocolate is totally fine. For nutrition, it's best to stick with dark chocolate, as it has extra anti-oxidants and flavonoids. Almost every grocery-store brand offers dark chocolate varieties and the cost difference between what you get on this isle, versus the gourmet stuff, is staggering.

PB & J

Specialty nut butters have really caught on over the past couple of years, but there's really no nutritional advantage for buying the more expensive ones, says Fishman. "Nut butters are nut butters," she says. Your standard peanut or almond butters are just as healthy and much less expensive. Just watch for added salt and sugar. Same goes for jelly. Go for the all-fruit, low-sugar varieties for everyday use and save the fancy farmer's market jam for special occasions.

We want to hear from you. Have any opinions on "fancy" food trends that just aren't worth it? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, and use the #FinFit.

 Special Thanks to D'Agostino for making this video possible.

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