Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nutrition Recession-Food on a Budget

As seen on KUSA-TV 9

Nutrition recession: what to do with the food budget as the economy flags, sags and drags.
• Prices are way down on the stock market and way up at the grocery store.
• Just thinking about it could make you lose your appetite
• Provide tips that won’t break the bank and will balance your nutrition budget

Imagine high food prices could put the nation on a diet as people, strapped for cash, tighten their belts and eat and weigh less.
• Soaring food prices have the opposite effect -- fatten up the nation.
• As price of one food goes up, people buy less of it, but buy other, cheaper food in its place, and cheaper foods tend to have more calories than those with a higher price tag
• Finding the best deals on groceries may become more important than buying the groceries they like best, so they may start buying cheap foods they wouldn't otherwise buy.
• Quite simply fats and sweets cost less, whereas healthier diets cost more

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for the bulk of your groceries
• This is where most of the basic, fresh and less processed foods are.
• Most produce, dairy products, meats, and grain products are usually located on these outer aisles. Often these foods are the most nutrient-rich-that is, they provide a substantial amount of nutrients for their calories.
• Then after you shop the outer aisles, dip into the inner aisles for staples that you know you need.

Produce: Nutrient rich and economical ways to give you more nutrients per bite
• To save money buy colorful, delicious fresh produce in season
o In the winter, think the three “c’s” carrots, collards and cabbage which provide you crunch, color and cost savings
• Use dried fruit like raisins
o A full fruit serving is only ¼ a cup, and provides plenty of fiber, vitamins and anti-oxidants for your health
o At 25 to 30 cents per serving, you economically meet one of your recommended fruit servings, compared to 75 cents to a dollar a serving for fresh fruit in the winter.
• Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables are also a nutrient-rich option.
o Processed just after they are harvested, they maintain nutrient content
o You only take out what you need, storing the rest and decreasing expensive food wastage.

• Shocking statistic, 84% of teens spend money and drink on a daily basis, sports drinks
• Milk with nine essential nutrients, is the best bargain at $0.25 per glass
• Compare with sport and energy drinks at one to two dollars per bottle-and usually the bottle is two servings, butt realistically the kids drink it in one sitting

Save on protein foods
• With flash frozen foods such as fish and meat, use only the amount you need, reseal the package, and return it to the freezer. Properly stored, there's no waste
• When you do buy meat, choose smaller portions of lean cuts.
• Use more inexpensive, vegetarian sources such as beans, eggs, tofu, and legumes
o Eggs are an excellent, inexpensive source of protein that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
o You could also try using a smaller portion of meat, fish, or poultry and extending the dish with whole grains, beans, eggs, and/or vegetables.
o Purchase in the bulk bins

In this economic recession we also face a nutrition recession: People are overwhelmed, overweight and undernourished
• We too often buy high-calorie foods (chips, dips, cookies, candy) which are generally cheaper than low-calorie foods as processed foods are cheaper to produce, ship and store
• Follow some basic general principles such as: shopping the perimeter of the store, incorporating dried, frozen and canned produce, choosing more nutrient –rich beverages like milk, and less pop and energy drinks, and looking at alternative protein.
• It takes an investment of your time and planning, however in these tough economic times, you can still feed your family with nutrient –rich foods while on a budget