At long last the economy is beginning to show some signs of recovery. Despite these glimmers of hope, experts tell us that it’s going to be a long slow road to better times. If you're looking for a way to make some positive changes in your budget, your life and the lives of your family members why not start with a cleaner healthier diet? Even if you are particularly healthy, a poor diet over time will lead to obesity and all kinds of chronic illness. Nothing is more taxing to a tight budget than poor health.  Read on for a few of the expert’s best tips on how to eat healthy and save money as well.


Focus the diet on colorful fruits and vegetables. Not only is it pleasing to the eye to have a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables at mealtime,  it's better for your body. Cooking with lots of fruits and vegetables provides your body with powerhouse nutrients that protect your good health.


Color by color here’s what’s good: Red foods like tomatoes help regulate prostate health. Orange-yellow foods like oranges, tangerines and lemons contain flavonoids, which promote skin health and protect the heart. Yellow-green foods like corn and leafy greens contain the phytochemicals, which promote and protect against macular degeneration. Red-purple foods like red apples, grapes and berries contain powerful antioxidants that protect against arthritis, colds and flu and cancer. Orange foods including carrots, mangos, apricots, winter squash and pumpkins, contain beta-carotene, which is good for eyes and skin. Green foods such as broccoli, chard, kale and Brussels sprouts have properties that protect against cancer of all kinds. White-green foods like leeks, green onions, and garlic contain sulfides, which provide protection against cancer and heart disease.


Try a Mediterranean style diet- minimal amounts of meat, lots of fish and vegetables- a very healthy way of eating. The diet is also low on milk and unhealthy fats yet high in other healthy oils such as olive oil.


Reverse the ratio of meat and carbohydrates to vegetables. Instead of serving up a large portion of meat and carbohydrates with a small portion of vegetables, try changing the ratio. Create a meal with two larger portions of vegetables, a portion of brown rice, and a small amount of meat.


Stop using so much cheese. Cheese can be a great way to liven up a meal, but it's important to use it in a healthy way. Not only is cheese expensive, processed cheese is really hard to digest.  Used as a condiment grated Parmesan or Romano will give flavor without ruining the budget or your digestion.


Reducing your intake of meat, cheese and highly processed foods while increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is a win win, stretching your food dollar and reducing short and long-term health care expenses. Till next time, Rebecca