Eat Healthy & Save Money – Tips From a Dietitian Part 2
In Part 1 of Eat Healthy & Save Money – Tips From a Dietitian Stephanie shared tips on how to buy and save. Part 2 is full of WHAT to buy and save. Implementing these easy tips has been beneficial to my families budget and I am excited to share them with you.
1. Plant-based Proteins
2016 had been dubbed the International Year of Pulses! What are pulses? Pulses are the dried seed of a legume plant (think beans, chickpeas, dried peas and lentils). These guys are packed with protein, fiber, low in fat and extremely affordable. You can purchase them dried or canned in water. Adding these to your diet is a healthy way to lower the cost of your meals. Here are some ideas you can try to help add pulses to your diet:
- Use cooked red lentils in meat loafs, burger patties or meat balls
- Add beans to a chili, soup or stew (you can even try making vegetarian versions to further cut costs)
- Add lightly mashed canned chickpeas to a ground meat and tomato sauce
Yogurt serves as a good source of protein, calcium and other bone building minerals and is easy to incorporate into snacks, baking and smoothies. However, even as a dietitian I find the yogurt section of my grocery store to be quite overwhelming. I typically recommend choosing yogurts that range from 0-2% milk fat and to pick the brand of yogurt that is on sale for that week. You may save a little extra if you purchase yogurt in a larger container and as opposed to purchasing pre-portioned yogurt cups. Check the Unit Price! Plain Greek Yogurt is always a good purchase as it is so versatile and a good source of protein, calcium and other bone building vitamins and minerals. You can substitute sour cream with plain yogurt to add on top of chili, potatoes or tacos.
3. Purchase less expensive cuts of meat
Marinate less expensive cuts of meat such as pork shoulder or beef brisket. The marinade adds flavor while tenderizing the meat. A basic marinade will have some acid like lemon or lime juice, or vinegar. Add some heart healthy vegetable oil (canola or olive oil) and seasonings like onion, garlic, ginger, herbs and spices. Marinate your meat for at least 30 minutes up to 24 hours. Tip: you can freeze meat with the marinade in a freezer bag. When you are ready to prepare the meat, pull your meat and marinade out and un-thaw in the fridge the night before. While the meat is un-thawing it will be marinating at the same time.
A slow-cooker to cook less expensive cuts of meat is also an excellent way to make them tender and juicy.
4. Canned fish
Canned fish is a source of high quality protein, heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, has similar nutritional value compared to fresh or frozen and at a lower cost. Health Canada recommends that we consume two 75 gram servings of fatty fish per week. Unfortunately the average Canadian falls short on the amount of fish we should be eating. When canned fish goes on sale I typically stock up, as it is one of my pantry staples and quick source of good and cheap protein. Try choosing canned fish that is packed in water with no added salt to avoid extra sodium and preservatives. You can add canned fish to a variety of dishes such as salads, cooked whole grain or pasta dishes, casseroles or steamed vegetables. You can mix canned fish with light mayonnaise or avocado and use as a filling for sandwiches or on top of whole grain crackers for a quick and easy lunch.
5. Purchase local and in season
Try to purchase produce that is both locally grown and in season. Foods that are grown locally have shorter transportation times, which not only reduces their cost but also maximizes their nutritional value. During the winter months, fresh and local produce is more challenging to come by here in Alberta. During spring, summer and early fall clean, chop and freeze or can produce so you can enjoy it all year round. During the winter you can also purchase frozen vegetables and fruit, which are often just as nutritious as fresh, have longer shelf lives and may be more affordable.
A huge Thank You to Stephanie for sharing this information with us!
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