5 Supermarket Splurges Worth Every Penny

Condé Nast Digital StudioCondé Nast Digital StudioBy Beth Janes, SELF magazine

You can find cheaper alternatives, but our budget-friendly shopper found that the health benefits of these goods trump the extra cost.

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1. Ready-to-Eat Salad Greens
At my produce market, a 5-ounce container of organic spinach costs more than double what a loose bunch of conventional greens runs. But because the spinach is professionally dried and then stored in an airtight container, it lasts longer, which means I actually eat it all before it wilts. -Beth Janes

2. Dark Chocolate

An inexpensive milk chocolate bar is like candy crack: Good luck stopping after one piece. A bar with 70 percent cocoa, however, is richer, more satisfying and full of antioxidants. You'll savor an ounce and set aside the rest for later without feeling shorted.

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3. Organic Chicken
Yes, it's pricey-$3 more per pound than a conventional bird-but with the jury still out on antibiotics and hormones in regular meat and poultry, I'd rather steer clear. To make organic more affordable, opt for a whole bird ($4 per pound) instead of only breasts ($9 per pound). "You can get three or more meals out of one roaster chicken," says Laurie Erickson, author of Chef By Step. Plus, cooking chicken with the bones in and skin on helps maintain moisture; just remove fatty skin before eating.

4. Good Cheese

Regardless of your pick, fine cheeses (Gouda, Gorgonzola) are a better buy than processed American. "With the pricier stuff, you can get by with eating-and thus buying-less because it has so much more flavor," says Terry Conlan, former chef at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas. I splurged on a wedge of Brie ($7) instead of my usual cheap cheddar ($3.49 a brick); one slice of Brie hit the spot, compared to the several pieces of cheddar it used to take to make me feel satisfied.

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5. Certain Organic Produce
Thin-skinned fruit and veggies (apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes and blueberries) and spinach, lettuce and collard greens or kale-aka the dirty dozen-tend to have the highest concentration of pesticides, making it worth the extra moola (50 cents more per pepper at my store, for example) to upgrade to organic.

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