Everyone is on a budget these days and that, no doubt, influences our weekly grocery bill. The silver lining to tighter purse strings may result in a more simplified and pure pantry. Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy can be cheap. In fact, a bag of chips will run you 40% more than a pound of seasonal, fresh produce. Moral of the story, steer clear of the aluminum bags and focus on these cost-effective staples.
1) Frozen veggies and fruit. Just as nutritious and will last much longer than fresh produce.
2) Quick oats. Target recently advertised their brand for $1.99 a canister. Perfect for an easy, high fiber breakfast or snack.
3) Store brand Greek yogurt. Trader Joe’s brand is usually around $.99 for a 6 oz serving. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein.
4) Lean, ground turkey. I can usually find 99% lean ground turkey at Shoprite for a bargain $2.99/lb. Take that sirloin!
5) Beans and lentils. A perfect option for a heart healthy, meatless meal with a decent shelf-life. Incorporate into soups, salads or even on pizza for a balanced meal.
Happy National Peanut Butter Day! It’s true, there is officially a day for everything it seems. I prefer to honor peanut butter and all of its creamy, delicious glory everyday. Not only is it the perfect punch of protein, but it is temperature safe which makes it handy for an on the go snack- perfect to complement fruit, veggies and whole grain crackers! Peanut butter is full of the heart healthy “good fats” and can be part of a healthy meal plan. It is best to keep peanut butter servings in moderation (about 1 tbsp) to avoid racking up the calories. I recommend low-cal versions like PB2 by Bell Plantation or Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter to avoid any hydrogenated oils (yuck). Try the following no-bake peanut butter oatmeal power balls from caloriecount.about.com for a filling afternoon snack or pair with a piece of fruit for an easy breakfast.
What you will need (makes 18):
-4 tbsp peanut butter
-2 tbps honey
- 1 tbsp skim milk
- 2 cups oats
Mix peanut butter and honey together in medium bowl. Add oats until combined, adding milk if necessary to moisten (should be crumbly). Roll into tight balls and store in refrigerator
The Nutritional Breakdown (1 ball):
64 calories, 2.4 grams of fat, 8.7grams of carbohydrates and 2.3 grams of protein.
I realize it can get a bit cliche to recommend fruit as a dessert option. Sometimes you really just need a cookie, ice cream, slice of cake…….mmmmmmm….I could go on and on. But, if you are like myself and already indulged in a giant Otis Spunkmeyer cookie earlier this afternoon, you need to be mindful of how the rest of your meals and dessert are played out. You can have your cake and it it too-just not twice in the same day! It’s a balancing act for sure, but I will stick to my promise to keep it as simple as possible.
The following recipe takes all of about-ummmm-5 minutes of your day. To be honest, no recipe is even necessary. Center the parfait around whatever fresh fruit you have around the house and top with whatever low-fat yogurt you may find in the fridge. Never-the-less, this is what I used, and it was pretty darn delicious:
The nutritional break-down:
108 calories; 0.5 g fat; 9mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrates; 3.2 g fiber; 3 g protein
What you will need:
1 banana sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons vanilla 0% fat Greek yogurt
Layer the parfait with alternating fruits. Serve with a tablespoon of yogurt.
Sound too boring? Try one of the following add-ons.