The Nation's Health + vegetables

Start with Prevention

So I found some articles I wrote back when I was a Nutrition Assistant at Concordia College and thought that most of the information is still pretty relevant. This article is from 2009, so please excuse some price difference or "datedness".
Eat Smart everyone!
Diet and disease prevention begins at a young age, and is especially important during college years when you are setting habits for the rest of your life. Making wise food and physical activity decisions is critical. “Eat Right,” is this year’s theme for March – National Nutrition Month. As college students and young adults, buying and paying for food on our own can be expensive, but we’d like to pride ourselves on our “smart” shopping habits. We know when to look for deals, but health can be sacrificed in some of our attempts at saving money. Often people claim, “It’s more expensive to eat healthfully.” Ironically, many healthy foods are not expensive, cheap in fact. Smart shoppers know to look for fresh fruits and vegetables in season and on sale. They also know how to incorporate healthful items into tasty dishes.

MyPlate replaced MyPyramid
Healthy foods aren’t highly processed, and they require us to do a little cooking. When choosing foods in order get the most nutrient for your dollar, chose foods that are high in fiber and protein. There are plenty of foods that are inexpensive and made with the nutrient you need to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s start with the basics:A gallon of milk is generally slightly under $4, which is the price of one gourmet coffee drink. At that price, a glass of milk costs about a quarter. It has the same number of calories as regular soda, but lots more nutrients. Milk is used in cereal, pudding, smoothies, and as an easy snack.
Eggs offer high-quality protein at a very low price. They have gotten a bad rap primarily because of the company they keep – sausage and bacon. Instead, pair eggs with whole grain bread and a fruit, or make an omelet with a load of vegetables. A dozen eggs costs about $1.20, that’s six meals for $0.20 a piece.
Cabbage is one of the cheapest vegetables, at about $2 a head and it’s laden with antioxidants. Try stir frying it, making it into coleslaw, or simmering it in soup. For an easy salad, cut it into bit sized chunks and squirt with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Naturally, corn is important to Cobbers and is a huge money saver when purchased frozen. All frozen vegetables are a money saver and they’re often more nutritious than fresh, since they are picked at the peak of ripeness. There’s no waste since you don’t throw out frozen where as fresh veggies tend to get forgotten in the crisper and must be thrown out when they go bad. Toss frozen corn into casseroles, tacos, burritos and soups.
You can buy a pound of pasta for $1.50 or so, and it’s the base for a great meal. Instead of loading on the meat sauce and cheese, sauté some vegetables, including garlic, in olive oil and toss with the noodles.
Canned wild salmon is not farm-raised, it isn’t as perishable as fresh fish, and it’s versatile. Make salmon patties, put on salad, make salmon omelets, or toss with pasta for a quickie seafood dinner. It’s rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids.Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and very low in calories. They can be eaten raw or steamed tossed with a little olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. You can also chop and add to soup or grated and tossed with lemon juice and raisins for an easy salad.
Beans are a good source of protein and fiber. Try kidneys, black beans or garbanzos Рthey are all highly nutritious and inexpensive, too. Per serving, when you use dried beans, the cost is about seven cents. Canned beans are a little more Рabout 25 cents a serving. Be sure to rinse canned beans to get rid of the salt. Toss into omelets, stir fries, salads, or saut̩ with onion in a little olive oil and eat as a side dish or main course.
Look for fruit that is in season, now you can find bags of oranges for around $2. Pack for a quick snack or lunch on the run, cut up for breakfast, or squeeze for fresh juice. Other fruits that are generally low in price are bananas, as well as apples and pears when they are on sale.
Whole cuts of meat are cheaper than the boneless and easy to prepare. Bake and remove bones and serve as is or use in soups, casseroles, pasta dishes. Larger pieces can also be chopped for use in stews and casseroles. If ground meat is preferred you can easily toss smaller pieces into a food processor to grind.
If these ideas sound manageable, here are even more ways to save money and still maintain a healthy diet:· Use coupons· Follow portions for protein – a portion is the size of a deck of cards· Make a meatless meal· Keep leftovers safe by refrigerating them quickly, and remake leftovers by mixing them in to rice or pasta· Mix up your diet with the addition of sweet potatoes; they are more nutrient rich than white potatoes and can add flavor and color to any meal.· Frozen fruit and berries are nutritionally similar to fresh but cost less. They can be added to cereal or pureed for a smoothie. If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet, take a closer look at canned, modern canning locks in nutrients at the products peak freshness and can be found in low sodium or reduced sugar forms.
The most important piece to remember when focusing on eating right is that good nutrition does not need to be expensive. Use these tips during your next grocery store visit, check the sale adds for reduced price produce, make a list, consider dried beans and lentils, try meatless meals and other lean protein choices, and remember healthy food can taste good and cost less.

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