Monday, October 20, 2008

Shop 'Til you Drop- Your Food Costs!

That's me standing in the produce aisle reporting this, "The hottest food trend hitting supermarkets now is how to save a buck!"
Old school tips on bargain shopping - from coupon clipping to reading unit prices-are in vogue with a vengeance. Here are a few smart ways to save on food dollars without sacrificing good nutrition. You've got to stay well nourished to ward off winter's colds and flus! The win-win here is that often the more economical humble heroes - such as beans, rice, canned tomatoes, soups, eggs and milk- are also the most nutritious choices in the supermarket, too.

Ready. Set. Shop ‘til you drop – your food costs!
· Leftovers: Wonder or Wasteful? Wonderful—think double duty meals. Roasted pork loin makes a great dinner one night and leftovers for tasty pork sandwiches or wraps the next. Or to save time, money and the urge to grab something quick at takeout, make a big pot of rice one night and use it the next day to go with a chicken and vegetable stir fry. And while you’re picking up the milk don’t forget the eggs – they’re both economical sources of high-quality protein. And eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore. Set up an omelet bar for dinner or make a frittata or quiche.
· Comfort Foods: A) High Calories and Costly or B) Healthy and Affordable? B! Think meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, baked lasagna or cream of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. However, give these wallet-friendly crowd pleasers a contemporary nutrition makeover – serve the meatloaf with brown rice, use whole grain pasta for the mac and cheese, add some chopped broccoli or zucchini and mushrooms to the lasagna and use lowfat or fat free cheese for the sandwiches. Look up your old favorites recipes online to find new healthier twists, which can also save you a few bucks or check out my book “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!”for more of my tips and insights for you and your family.
· True or False: Fancy Vitamin-Enhanced Drinks are Worth the Extra Spend. False. False. False. Don’t be fooled by sports drinks, enhanced water or even vitamin D and calcium fortified orange juice, not one can stack up against the nutritional and economic value of a glass of milk. Milk offers the most bang for a quarter, with a full 8-ounce glass of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, protein and potassium. Other beverages fall short on nutrients and can cost up to seven times the amount of one serving of milk.
· Are shopping lists a thing of the past? No, don’t forget the good old shopping list! With the price of gas today and of course your precious time, there’s nothing worse than getting home from the store to find you forgot one ingredient for a recipe. Or putting the groceries away and finding you were out of milk. Shopping lists help us plan what we need and avoid impulse purchases, as well. If chocolate covered donuts aren’t on your list then keep that cart moving. To focus your food dollar where it counts nutritionally, it might help to arrange your shopping list by the groups in USDA’s MyPyramid -- fruit, vegetables, grains, meats and milk and milk products. Once you built the foundation with these foods, you can decide if there’s some extra cash still available for snacks or other treats.

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