10 Foods Worth Splurging On

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grocery store clerk handing taking payment from customer
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Even if you're trying to save money, it isn't always best to buy food at the lowest possible price. There's a time and a place — and a reason — to spend a bit extra, namely when you're concerned about taste and health benefits, planning a meal that's meant to impress, or simply seeking a real culinary treat. The key is to pick your spots. Keep these items in mind the next time you go shopping. The difference in taste and quality can be priceless.
housewife buying a tray of fresh salmon
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It's worth going overboard on seafood for myriad reasons. For one thing, most people eat seafood infrequently; it's not necessarily an everyday expense. Then there are safety and environmental concerns. It's wise to find a highly rated local grocer or fishmonger who sells fish caught by ethical fishermen and knows how to properly inspect and handle seafood — even if it costs a bit more.
fresh strawberries containers for sale
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Not all produce is created equal. Health expert and trainer Joey Daoud of New Territory Fitness points consumers toward the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of fruits and vegetables found to contain the most pesticide residue. These foods — including strawberries, spinach, and apples — "are definitely worth the extra money to buy organic," he says.
dinner bowl with meat, fried egg, and vegetables
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The paleo and keto diets demand high-protein foods, and buying high-quality versions can help dieters stay satiated and skip empty-calorie crackers, chips, and candy. "You must buy better proteins — no nitrite bacon and other deli-style meats," says nutritionist Stephanie Pedersen, author of "Keto Lunches." "Choose deli meats with no added fillers, which can increase a food's carb content. Go for wild-caught salmon and antibiotic-free and hormone-free chicken when you can afford to."
hands of woman packing eggs in supermarket
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When eggs are the star protein — at breakfast, for example — go for the good eggs. Free-range farm eggs produced by stress-free, ethically raised chickens tend to have noticeably more flavor, and the richness of the yolk makes egg-centric dishes more memorable.
vanilla extract in a bottle and pods on rustic wood
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If you're going to go for empty calories, make them count. You can save on basic baking ingredients, but it pays to splurge on flavorings, specifically extracts like pure vanilla and dark cocoa powder. You can find them cheaper, of course, but splurging on high-quality vanilla and chocolate makes a real difference in the final product.
cinnamon sticks and powder on a wooden table
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Cassia cinnamon is more common, but pricier Ceylon cinnamon is the one experts agree you should use to flavor coffee, spice up baked goods, or sprinkle into yogurt. Spend a little bit more and get the best spice.
woman selecting milk from dairy aisle in supermarket
Photo credit: FangXiaNuo/istockphoto

For those who consume dairy products, drinking organic milk is widely regarded as a way to avoid ingesting nasty bovine hormones and toxic additives that do not do a body good. It also has a higher proportion of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.
opened butter
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Grass-fed butter has a plethora of benefits not found in cheaper mass-produced butter. Grass-fed butter contains higher levels of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and anti-inflammatory butyric acid, which has been associated with weight loss. Small amounts can make you feel fuller longer and may also benefit brain function. Go for the unsalted variety.
grated parmesan cheese
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Do you want to put sodium and potentially sawdust on your pasta? Of course not. Based on the shameful legal woes surrounding "cheese" made by large food manufacturers, it's best to buy Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, and Romano cheeses cut from wheels of the Italian cheeses imported to the United States. They cost a lot more, but considering the powerful flavor impact of a small amount, they're a good value.

chocolate sweets in shop
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Cheap chocolate is mostly sugar-, fat-, and filler-laden, with minimal cocoa. Develop a palate for dark, fresh, low-sugar chocolate, and you can get antioxidants your body needs, and elevate your mood and energy levels. Good-quality cocoa costs more, but your healthier heart and head will thank you.

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