Being a foodie is practically a full-time job… and one that doesn’t pay too well either. Although we love experimenting with new recipes (piecaken and coffee cones are our current faves) and eating out at the hottest new restaurants, all this delicious grub can definitely get damn expensive.

Thankfully, a new study by Wallet Hub analyzed the largest 150 American cities to determine the ultimate foodie locale (you know, for science reasons). The researchers compared the cities across 21 key metrics, including the cost of groceries, prevalence of affordable restaurants rated at least 4.5 stars and number of food festivals per capita. Here’s what they found.

Couple shopping in outdoor market, Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

It turns out that when combining the affordability, diversity, accessibility and quality ranking, Orlando, Florida is the most foodie-centric city — even though the food at Walt Disney World has definitely been known to hurt one’s bank account. Also high on the list were artisan-friendly Portland, Miami, Tampa and San Francisco.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, there were obviously a few cities that weren’t too kind to their grub-savvy citizens. The worst offenders of all were North Las Vegas, Moreno Valley, Grand Prairie, Montgomery and Fontana.

But before you pack up your bags and jet-set to Orlando (which also has the highest number of ice cream and froyo shops per capita), there are still a few things you can do to stretch your foodie dollar at home. Here are four expert tips for eating well on a budget.

Tourists and friends having a snack

1. Go exploring. “Get off the beaten path,” says Polly Adema, Director of the Master of Arts in Food Studies at the University of the Pacific. “In addition to spending time in tourist centers, peruse the side streets.” In other words, ditch the low-key chain restaurant and take a risk — if anything, at least you’ll get a good story out if it!

2. Get budget-savvy. Daily specials are key to saving a buck, advises Denise Holston-West, an instructor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University. Also, consider sharing an entrée with a friend or companion to stop the doggie-bag pile-up in the back of your fridge.

3. It’s all about the apps. Blair Kidwell of Florida International University is partial to using reviews and apps to finding the best deal. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to most foodies that you can weed out 90 percent of the low-quality places by looking at the reviews on apps like Yelp or Feed. It takes all the guesswork out of deciding where to eat.”

4. Check out the farmers’ market. “Foodie cities often have an impressive farmers’ market, which is certainly true in Kalamazoo, MI,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Anja Grommons. “I can always count on finding fresh, in-season produce and handmade goods at a great price.”

How does your foodie city stack up? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)