National Nutrition Month: Week Four

“Go Further with Food”

By Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Marina Bedrossian

Healthy eating absolutely does NOT need to be expensive. Check out these ideas to make your dollars go further…

Low cost protein: 

  • Beans and lentils: Dried beans, lentils, and peas will get you the biggest bang for your buck. One bag can serve more than a family for just over $1. These will offer protein, heart and colon-healthy fiber, and carbohydrates for long lasting energy. Pair with any vegetables, oil, and vinegar for a quick salad. Use canned varieties instead to save time on soaking and cooking (although if you have a pressure cooker or if you are a planner, it’s not a big deal). Canned beans often go on sale, so stock up. Look for brands with the fewest ingredients. Once you open the can, drain and rinse it well under fresh water to greatly reduce the sodium content. 
     
  • Eggs: the perfect protein! I often refer to the yolk as a “multivitamin”, so don’t throw it out! Its an excellent source of choline which is important for brain health and mood. I always look for the “certified humane” seal on the carton to be sure the chickens were raised with ample space and good food.
     
  • Canned sardines: Most people are afraid of my favorite nutrition powerhouse—sardines! One can has 1,300 mg of omega-3 fats, 14 g protein, and if you get them with the skin and bones, you’ll get a whopping 96% of your daily value for vitamin D and 48% of calcium for only 200 Calories!  Being high in protein and healthy fat, they will also keep you satisfied with stable blood sugars. While there are lots of recipes do using canned sardines, my favorite is to put them in a green salad to make a meal in under 2 minutes flat. Sardines taste similar to canned tuna, and unlike popular belief are not high in sodium, and do not come with their heads on! Novices may opt for skinless and boneless sardines.
     
  • Canned wild salmon: A fraction of the price of fresh salmon, canned wild salon ensures you are getting good quality fish with the omega-3’s we are looking for. And it’s cooked! Talk about fast food. Some canned salmon includes bones and skin. This is an added benefit for the same reasons as the bone-in skin-on sardines. 

Eating the proper portion of meat will save lots of money! An average woman only needs 3 ounces of meat at a meal while men need about 6 ounces. That means one 20 ounce steak can feed a family! So maybe you will splurge on that organic grass-fed meat.

Buy seasonal produce.

Buy on sale and freeze for later.

Superfoods are pretty cheap! Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and garlic have extraordinary health benefits. They’re often on sale, and they are easy to find. 

Cottage cheese: often cheaper than Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is packed with protein. One cup of cottage cheese mixed with some frozen berries makes for a power-house breakfast. Not a fan of the texture? Blend the cottage cheese to make it resemble ricotta—I prefer the “no salt added” variety. Y-U-M!


Organic can be cheap! Big box stores are now carrying lots of organic foods. 

Homemade foods are always cheaper. A container of hummus can easily cost $3-4. But you can easily make your own with 1 can of chickpeas and a few other ingredients in your blender. You’ll have a healthier product with fewer additives, and you will save %50.

Highly processed foods are actually the most expensive, especially compared to the nutrition you get out of them. They may save time, but you will pay for that from your wallet and your health. 

Other ways to save money:
-Pack your lunch & snacks: prepare a few meals at a time while you are already in the kitchen. This will save you the time it takes to order food, and the money. You’ll also be eating better food!
-Make your coffee at home: Save a bunch of money by brewing your own coffee at home. This is one food we don’t think about using organic, but did you know coffee is one of the highest pesticide-ridden foods in our lives? Making your own can ensure you get the good stuff, and will still be cheaper than buying it to-go.