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
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes Number of Servings: 4
- 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
- Chop mushrooms to approximate size and texture of cooked ground beef.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add ground beef and mushrooms, and cook. Sauté until ground beef is done.
- Remove mushroom-beef mixture from pan. Add the oil, onions and garlic to pan; cook until golden.
- Return mushroom-beef mixture to pan, along with remaining ingredients expect for buns.
- 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
Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian for County Market
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