March is National Nutrition Month and Women’s History month. In celebration of both of these events I’d like to encourage women to Eat Right! -the theme of this year’s Nutrition month. As mothers and wives, we often sacrifice our own health and nutrition for the sake of others. When money is tight and time is short, maintaining a healthy diet is often challenging. According to a recent American Dietetic Association survey, the majority of people consider convenience to be the biggest factor in selecting a meal. However, the economic recession has affected Americans’ mealtimes as well. A healthy meal can be inexpensive and convenient with a little bit of planning.
- Even small amounts of advance planning pay off: Bring your list when you shop. Many recipe web sites offer grocery lists for their meals. Make meals that can last for more than one night.
- Use coupons: Only half of those surveyed by ADA said they clip grocery coupons and look for price specials. Clipping coupons or printing them from Web sites can save you 10-15 percent on your grocery bill.
- Get tactical: Shop the store’s perimeter. The healthiest foods are found around the perimeter of the store.
- Follow portions for protein: 42 percent of those surveyed said they were limiting the amount of meat purchased to save on grocery expenses. Remember, a portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards. A pound of chicken breasts could last for two meals if you follow portion control.
- Make meatless meals: Beans are considered a ‘super food’ because they are packed full of protein, nutrients and fiber. One cup of dried beans cost around 40 cents. If you don’t have time to soak beans overnight, buy canned beans for quick and easy meals.
- Think outside the crisper: Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables will last longer than fresh versions from the produce department. Frozen is equally as nutritious as fresh.
- Don’t throw money away: keep leftovers safe by refrigerating them quickly, use before they go bad and you can stretch one meal into a few.
- Don’t spend good money on empty calories: Some foods are budget and health busters, offering no nutrition and a lot of calories. Subtracting one 12 ounce soda from your diet per day equals 43,800 fewer calories per year. That’s 13 pounds per year a person could lose just by cutting out soda pop. Giving up empty calories also means more money to invest in beans, eggs, milk and veggies.
Women have been and continue to be the most positive influence over their families diets. Eating healthy while tightening your financial belt is possible without breaking your bank account.