Im beyond excited to have this week’s guest food-rambler be none other than Monica Reinagel, M.S., C.N.S.
If you’re one of the few who arent yet aware of Monica’s foodwisdom I shall give you the short version (the long version? get thee to her blog–pronto!):
Monica is NutritionData.com‘s chief nutritionist & author of The ND Blog: Notes From the Nutritionista (I love that name!). She holds a master’s degree in human nutrition and is a board-certified nutrition specialist. She has written and edited numerous books, articles, and other publications on health, nutrition, and diet, including the Amazon.com best-seller The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, as well as The Life Extension Revolution: The New Science of Growing Older Without Aging.
Monica is also a professionally trained chef (!) & a member of the American College of Nutrition and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. (I guess the *true* shorter version would simply to have deemed her my Renaissance Woman).
Grocery prices in the United States increased about 5 percent in the last year, the largest increase in 17 years. Some essential items like eggs, milk, wheat, corn and soybeans have jumped even higher and projections for 2008 show that prices can increase an additional 7.5 percent in 2008 alone. With almost everyone tightening their financial belts lately, eating well on a budget is no easy task. Here are some ways which can help you focus on getting the most nutritious foods for the least amount of money. Use these tips to know what to look for in the supermarket and how to stretch your food dollar.
Key items to look for in the supermarket:
- Beans: This staple item is filling and a good source of protein and fiber. They are the cheapest (and tastiest) when you buy them dried and cook them yourself, but canned beans also are very inexpensive. Beans are extremely versatile and can be served in a variety of dishes such as chili, red beans and rice, soups, etc.
- Whole grains like Quinoa: Higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbs than most grains, quinoa provides a rich source of protein and nutrients.
- Greens such as Kale, Collards Mustard Greens and Chard: They are inexpensive, easy to prepare and very nutritious (Good source of vitamin K, calcium, and folate).
- Pasta: An inexpensive basis for a wide variety of healthy meals. Up the nutrition ante and control the carbs by combining pasta with vegetables for a quick and inexpensive dish. For example: Pasta with sautéed greens and cannellini beans.
- Green beans: These keep well and contain A, C, B-vitamins.
- Cabbage: A versatile item to cook with and a great source of vitamin C and cancer fighting compounds.
- Canned tomatoes: Great time for saving time in the kitchen, canned tomatoes are versatile and nutrients like lycopene are more available in this cooked version.
Tips on how to stretch your food dollar without sacrificing nutrition:
- Don’t pay premium for convenience: Save money by washing your own lettuce, peeling your own carrots, slicing your own cheese, and chopping your own onions.
- Skip the junk food aisle: Chips, sodas, and sweets are costly and don’t contribute any real nutrition. Spend that money on nutritious treats like dried or fresh fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds.
- Don’t pay extra for individual serving sizes: The cost of one large yogurt container is significantly less than individual size containers.
- Skip the Kits: Pass on the meal kits or already prepared drinks (iced tea, lemonade). Make your own and save.
- When fresh veggies are expensive – opt for frozen: Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious and don’t go bad.
- Go meatless once or twice a week: Meat is one of the costliest items so save money (and boost your health) by enjoying a vegetarian meal.
- Fruit bargains: whatever’s in season is going to be cheapest and most nutritious. Shop at a farmer’s market for great prices and quality.
Thanks so much, Monica. I wont drag you into the Bumbling Band (unless you insist!) but we do appreciate you dropping by.
(If you enjoyed Monica’s musings please let her know by leaving a message at the end of a Nutritionista blog post)