Stretch Your Budget with Fruits & Veggies

Stretch Your Budget with Fruits & Veggies

Sep 07, 2017

September is Fruits & Veggies More Matters Month ® and the theme is “Stretch Your Budget

We could all use a little budget stretching – wouldn’t you agree? 

Most people don’t think about fruits and veggies being budget-friendly, but there are so many budget-friendly fruits and veggies to choose from that you might be surprised!

Here are some tips to “Stretch Your Budget” with All Forms of Fruits & Veggies:

  • Buy Produce that is in season – buying produce that is in season can help lower the cost of your grocery bill and maximize freshness!
    • Some great options right now: acorn squash, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, cranberries, grapes, mushrooms (see recipe below), pears, pomegranate, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and turnips to name a few.
  • Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies – these are as close to fresh as possible and in some cases can be even more nutritious when you compare them to fresh produce that isn’t in season!
    • Remember to use coupons, check the ad for specials on frozen fruits and veggies and stock up when you can – they can last up to a year or longer!! Now that’s a huge cost savings when you think about how quickly fresh can go bad.
  • Buy Canned Fruits & Veggies – Don’t be fooled into thinking that canned isn’t as “healthy” as fresh fruits and veggies.  Eating any form of fruits and veggies is “healthier” than eating none at all!! 
    • Choose canned veggies that say “No Salt Added” or “Reduced Sodium” when possible and canned fruits that say “Packed in 100% juice.”
    • Did I mention that canned fruits and veggies are by far one of the cheapest options and they also have a long shelf life, even longer than frozen fruits & veggies.
  • Try Dried Fruits & Veggies for Snacks & Toppings – Yes you can even find dried fruits and veggies that are inexpensive and provide a great deal of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in a very small portion.
    • For example, plain unsweetened raisins, dates, apricots and plums are great for snacks, on top of oatmeal, or even on top of a salad. Freeze dried apple chips, snap peas, green beans and kale chips, make for a crunchy & yummy snack!
  • Swap out soda for 100% Fruit or Veggie-based Juices  - buying 100% fruit or veggie juice instead of a sugar-sweetened beverage means you are getting more bang for your buck!
    • 100% fruit or veggie juice contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, sometimes fiber, which sugar-sweetened beverages lack.
      • Just remember to make juice 1 of your many choices of fruit/veggie forms (Fresh, Frozen, Canned, & Dried are important too) that you eat throughout the day so you reap the nutritional benefits of All 5 Forms!

Here is a budget-friendly recipe that uses baby bella mushrooms to help cut down on the amount of beef needed, which can help with cost savings!

Mushroom Beef Sloppy Joes

Mushroom Sloppy Joe.jpg

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes     Number of Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, rinsed
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, rinsed
  • ¼ lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1½ tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-8oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat buns

Directions:

  1. Chop mushrooms to approximate size and texture of cooked ground beef.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add ground beef and mushrooms, and cook. Sauté until ground beef is done.
  4. Remove mushroom-beef mixture from pan. Add the oil, onions and garlic to pan; cook until golden.
  5. Return mushroom-beef mixture to pan, along with remaining ingredients expect for buns.
  6. Simmer about 10 minutes then remove from heat and serve on whole wheat buns with mustard and dill pickle relish.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 280      Protein: 13gm      Total Carbohydrates: 37gm     Total Fat: 11gm

Fiber: 6gm      Cholesterol: 20mg      Sodium: 240mg

Recipe & photo courtesy of Produce for Better Health Foundation

fruitsandveggiesmorematters.png

Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian for County Market



Category: Recipes

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