Good nutritional values can be found in the interior of your grocery store.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

YOU CAN STILL MAKE HEALTHY FOOD PURCHASES WHILE CONTROLLING YOUR FOOD BUDGET

Finding healthy foods to eat while sticking to a tight budget is not a difficult as you may think. Grocery stores circulars feature deeply discounted items each week to attract customers and good values can be found in every aisle all year round if you know what to look for.

The hard part is changing your shopping list to match what’s on sale or a good bargain. But if you’re trying to save money and eat well, it can be done. Let me show you how.

The biggest myth handicapping people who want to shop smart on a budget is the notion that all of the best foods are found on the perimeter of the store. That’s simply not true! Perishable foods that have high turnover and need to be closer to receiving docks or refrigerated storage areas are around the perimeter.

For example, fresh produce is found on the perimeter. Good deals can often be found on seasonal produce, but fresh is not always best. It is, however, more expensive, other than staples like potatoes, onions and carrots whose prices don’t vary much. Fresh produce becomes even more expensive it spoils before you eat it.

Frozen and canned vegetables and fruit, dried fruit, and canned or bottled 100% fruit and vegetable juices offer good nutrition at a good price every week of the year. Why not replace a green salad with a bean salad using canned lima, kidney and string beans or combine fresh carrots with canned pineapple for another low cost salad option?

Fresh meats, poultry, eggs and milk products are also found on the perimeter walls of the store. It is worth taking advantage of sale items in the meat case if you have the freezer space to store them when you get home. Fresh eggs remain one of the best nutritional values in the store at 20 cents apiece, while individual containers of flavored yogurt are among the worst. It’s far more economical to buy a quart of plain low fat or fat free yogurt and add a spoonful of jam.

You can build everyday menus around the good values found in the interior of the store if you by-pass the more costly versions packaged for convenience, and stick to the basics. These include:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Bagged dry beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned salmon
  • Sardines
  • Evaporated milk
  • Nonfat powdered milk
  • Canola oil
  • Whole wheat flour

Of course, you must be willing to learn some new cooking skills and a few new recipes so you can prepare things from scratch, but that provides further nutritional benefits. It’s worth it if you want to make an investment in your health and your wallet at the same time!

How are you saving money at the grocery store?

Buying seasonal foods and storing properly lets you enjoy them all year

Stock Up On These 5 Food Values in Stores Now!

Find the best prices on fall foods while in season

The last two months of year are filled with holidays that feature food. Traditional dishes and favorite family recipes dominate the menu. For many that means stretching the budget to cover all the extra ingredients needed to prepare those special meals. But it also provides an opportunity to stock up on seasonal foods that aren’t as plentiful any other time of year while they are at their lowest price. Take advantage of these bargains to reap their nutritional benefits all year long.

  1. Apples. Buy them in baskets at farms stands and start making applesauce! It’s easy to do and freezes beautifully. Skip the sugar and season with your own signature spice blends using cinnamon, clove and allspice. Freeze it in individual and meal sized plastic containers or zip-top freezer bags. If you have a fruit dehydrator, make dried apple slices to snack on or to add to baked goods, oatmeal and pilafs. Visit the New York State Apple Association or the Washington Apple Commission for the best recipes and information about different varieties.
  2. Fresh Cranberries. Get them in bulk or bags to load up your freezer after rinsing and placing in freezer-grade storage bags to preserve their quality. Use some to make a big batch of homemade cranberry sauce that you can put into little jars and give away as holiday favors to go with all that leftover turkey. They’re also good to have on hand for decorating, garnishing cocktails and dehydrating to make your own “Craisins.” The Cranberry Institute has answers to all your questions about their nutritional content and emerging health research.
  3. Pomegranates. Like apples, the fruit can be stored at refrigerator temperatures (32⁰ – 41⁰ F) for up to seven months. The whole fruit can also be frozen for over a year in heavy zip-top bags. Just defrost completely before using. The arils found inside the fruit are the edible part. To freeze, remove the arils from the fruit and place them in single layer on a sheet pan until frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Get more health and nutrition information plus ways to use them from the Pomegranate Council.
  4. Walnuts. They can be stored in their shells for 8 months at room temperature or shelled and frozen for a year or more. Walnuts are ideal on their own as a snack or can be added to everything from appetizers to desserts. You can find all you need to know about these nutritious nuts, including recipes, from the California Walnut Board.
  5. Canned Pumpkin. Storage is no problem, but if you don’t load your pantry now you may not find this powerhouse of good nutrition so easily the rest of the year. A ½ cup serving of canned pumpkin provides more than 100% of your daily allowance for Vitamin A and 20% of the Daily Value for fiber– that’s 5 grams, and has only 40 calories. There are recipes galore on the Libby’s Pumpkin site, and they’re not all pie!
The concept of Yin Yang can be applied to food selection for a healthy diet

The Yin Yang Symbol Offers Path to a Balanced Diet

How to use the philosophy of Yin Yang instead of MyPlate to make healthy food choices

The food world got a new circle in June called MyPlate. It was created to illustrate how we should proportion our food at each meal to balance the diet. It works pretty well if you can separate your food into individual piles of grain, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy, but not if you’re eating a slice of mushroom pizza and a fruit smoothie.

Given the many ways food is combined to make it taste good – think lasagna, burritos, sushi – the strategically divided MyPlate is not the handiest tool for diet planning. But the ancient symbol of Yin Yang is. It represents the idea of balance by viewing everything in relation to its whole, like the complementary characteristics of day and night, sky and earth, fire and water.

Using the concept of Yin Yang at meals would encourage us to think about whether our choices harmonize well as part our daily diet, instead of trying to figure out into what food group each item on our plate belongs. I particularly like the way the symbol of Yin Yang invokes the importance of balance without making us feel like we need a scale to get it right.

Seeing the image of Yin Yang might gently nudge us to be mindful when eating and consider whether we have had enough whole grains for the day or possibly too many. In that way it could help us make healthy food choices without ever having to deconstruct a bowl of soup into its component parts.

The inclusive nature of Yin Yang also allows for all of our food choices, without judgment, as long as no food or drink dominates our diet or is neglected. This distinction of Yin Yang preserves the essence of cuisine that makes eating so enjoyable. In the harmonizing world of Yin Yang, food can be a little salty or spicy or savory or sweet. It can be hot or cold, liquid or solid, crunchy or smooth. All of the most highly personal to the most patently universal aspects of food selection can be accommodated.

In short, the Yin Yang message can be used to promote moderation and variety in the diet. And that’s pretty much all we need to know to achieve good nutrition. Why not conjure up the image of Yin Yang at your next meal and see what happens?