Nancy Teeter, RDN
“Go Further with Food” is the theme for National Nutrition Month® 2018. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference.
This year’s theme encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. By planning meals and snacks in advance, you can reduce food loss and waste.
Managing food resources at home will help you “Go Further with Food,” while saving both nutrients and money. As a food and nutrition expert, I want to share with you some ways that you can maximize nutrition, save money and reduce food waste.
Cook and Freeze
Prepare soups, stews and casseroles in larger batches and freeze meal-sized portions for later use. This can save you money. Eating out or buying prepared foods are far more expensive options.
Store foods properly
When you plan your shopping list, also plan time to store perishables properly when you get home. By washing produce and storing items in cloth produce bags, you will not only reduce prep time later, the products will last longer and reduce waste.
Cover half your plate with veggies
When it comes to veggies, more matters. Strive for five servings of non-starchy vegetables each day in a wide array of colors. When you choose vegetables from the full color spectrum—dark green, orange, red, purple and pale—you fill your gut and your body with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Replace meat with vegetable protein
Soybeans, tempeh, tofu, and organic soy milk are all super protein sources. In addition, they are full of phytonutrients which can help promote bone and heart health. You can also replace meat with meaty mushrooms like cremini and portabellas. By cutting back on meat, you will save money and minimize health risks created by consuming too much animal protein.
Adopt the half cup habit
Canned beans and lentils are time and cost savers, plus they are rich in protein, iron, fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants. Look for organic canned beans. They are inexpensive and very often lower in sodium. Use beans in soups, salads, and casseroles. Cooked lentils blend completely into smoothies and add a reliable, high-fiber, source of protein.
Purchase fewer ultra-processed foods
Instead of chips and pretzels, consider popcorn. In place of granola bars, consider eating a handful of roasted nuts and dried fruit. In place of frozen yogurt, blend partially thawed frozen raspberries with plain organic yogurt and add a small drizzle of honey if desired for added sweetness.
Nancy Teeter, RDN, lives in SaddleBrooke, loves to cook and to share her knowledge of nutrition and health. You can find her on Facebook at Nancy Teeter, RD and on Twitter @nutrinancy.