Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘healthy foods’

By Jeff Yeager, The Daily Green

(Photo: Robin Macdougall / Getty Images)

If you are what you eat, then I should weigh-in at under $1 a pound.

That’s because, as a general rule of thumb, I try to only buy foodstuffs that costs under a buck per pound. Under $1 a pound, year-round — that’s my grocery shopping mantra.

It’s not just because I’m a world-class penny-pincher and smart shopper; believe it or not, it’s also about eating healthier. When you look at the USDA’s “food pyramid,” many of the things we should be eating the most of — grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables — happen to cost the least.

It’s often the stuff that’s bad for us (at least in large quantities) like red meat, fatty dairy products, and processed foods high in trans saturated fats, that cost the most, on a per pound basis.

To prove my point, I’ve put together this list of 50 healthy foods that I’ve purchased at least once in the last six months for under $1 a pound.

So rev-up your shopping cart, but be careful: There’s a Green Cheapskate loose on aisle five!

  • Apples – One a day keeps the cheapskate away.
  • Asparagus – HUGE store special at 99 cents a pound during Easter week. I bought 10 pounds, blanched it, and then froze it.
  • Bananas – Potassium for pennies.
  • Barley – A tasty alternative to rice and potatoes.
  • Beans – Canned or dried. Kidney, pinto, navy, black, red, and many more.
  • Bok choy – Steam and serve with a little soy sauce.
  • Broccoli – Yes, a store special. Usually closer to $2 per pound.
  • Bulgar wheat – Try it in pilaf or a tabouleh salad.
  • Cabbage – Green and red. I like mine fried.
  • Cantaloupe – No, sorry, I can’t; I’m already married.
  • Carrots – Raw or steamed. Rich in carotenes, a healthy antioxidant.
  • Celery – Stir-fry it for a change.
  • Chicken – Whole or various parts, on sale.
  • Chickpeas – AKA garbanzo beans — mash ’em up as a healthy sandwich spread.
  • Cornmeal – “Polenta” is all the rage these days, but I loved it 40 years ago when Mom called it “cornmeal mush.”
  • Cucumbers – Try peeling, seeding, and steaming with a little butter and salt.
  • Daikon radish – My new favorite raw veggie.
  • Eggs – Don’t overdo them, but eggs provide high quality protein and still cost about $1 per pound. (Plus, there are many eggscellent things you can do with the shells.)
  • Green beans – Frozen, but fresh are sometimes on sale for under $1 a pound in-season.
  • Greens – Kale, mustard, turnip, and collard greens are rich in vitamins and a good source of fiber. Here’s how I cook ’em.
  • Grapes – Store special at 99 cents a pound.
  • Grapefruit – Bake with a little brown sugar on top for a healthy dessert.
  • Lentils – Perhaps the perfect food — healthy, cheap, and versatile. Think soups, salads, sandwich spreads — and those are only some of the “s” possibilities.
  • Liver – Chicken livers usually cost under $1 a pound, and sometimes beef and pork liver can be found in the DMZ (“Dollar Maximum Zone”).
  • Mangoes – High in fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C.
  • Milk – Yep, on a per-pound basis, milk still costs well under $1 a pound.
  • Napa cabbage – Delicious steamed or raw in a salad.
  • Oatmeal – The good old-fashioned “slow cooking” kind … that takes all of five minutes.
  • Onions – Try baking them whole in a cream sauce.
  • Oranges – Frequent sale price when in-season.
  • Pasta – Store special at 89 cents a pound — I nearly bought them out!
  • Peanut butter – Special sale price, but stock up because it usually has a long shelf life.
  • Pork – Inexpensive cuts of pork frequently go on sale for 99 cents per pound or less; sometimes even ham during the holidays.
  • Potatoes – White and red, Baked, mashed, boiled, broiled, steamed.
  • Pumpkin – Yes, you can eat the same ones you buy as holiday decorations, and they usually cost under 50 cents a pound.
  • Rice – White for under $1 a pound; brown, a little more expensive but better for you.
  • Rutabagas – Hated them as a kid; can’t get enough of them now.
  • Sour cream – 99 cents on sale, but long shelf life, so stock up. My cucumber awaits.
  • Spinach – Frozen (but Popeye doesn’t care).
  • Split peas – Add a hambone and make the ultimate comfort soup. Try it in the crock-pot!
  • Squash – Try baking acorn squash with a little brown sugar.
  • Sweet corn – Canned or fresh on the cob, in-season. (Try this recipe for summer corn fritters.)
  • Tomatoes – Canned are often better than fresh to use in cooking, and occasionally you can find fresh on sale for under a buck, in-season.
  • Turkey – A popular bargain-priced, loss-leader around the holidays — buy an extra bird and freeze it for later.
  • Turnips – Make me think of my grandparents, who always grew them.
  • Watermelon – Whole, in-season melons can sometime cost less than 20 cents a pound if they’re on sale and you find a big one.
  • Wine – Well, at least the stuff I drink — a 5-liter box (approximately 11 pounds) for about 10 bucks, on sale. (BTW, the beer I drink is even less expensive per pound.)
  • Yams/sweet potatoes – One of the healthiest foods you can eat, and usually available year-round for under $1 a pound.
  • Yogurt – 8-ounce containers on sale, two for $1.
  • Zucchini – OK, they’re a type of squash (above). But I love them so much they deserve their own place on the list. Plus they look great in pantyhose.

Here are a few disclaimers about my list-o-50:

No, I don’t live on another planet or in a part of the country where the cost of living is deflated. In fact, I live and shop in the Washington, D.C., metro area, which has one of the highest costs of living (and groceries) in the country.

No, I’m not saying that all of these items are available in every store, at all times. But if you shop carefully, you can always find at least some variety of these foods around which to plan your meals.

Many of the items on the list (e.g., most root vegetables, bananas, beans, etc.) can usually be purchased for under $1 pound even when not on sale or in-season. Other items on the list were “store specials” and typically would cost more than $1 a pound, and/or they were in-season so cost less.

No, none of the items on my under $1-a-pound list are organically grown. The pros/cons of that debate aside, for most people with a limited budget, the choice isn’t whether or not to buy expensive organic, it’s whether or not to eat highly processed crap like fast food or eat inexpensive healthy foods like those on my list. (See the dirty dozen foods with the most pesticides to maximize organic purchases.)

No, I’m not saying that by eating only these foods you’ll have a complete, healthy diet. But they certainly can be the backbone around which to plan healthy, inexpensive menus for your family.

No, I don’t burn up a lot of time and gas by running around to a lot of different grocery stores, and I rarely use coupons. I shop only once every week or two, and I usually shop at only one or two stores.

I plan my meals around the-best-of-the-best weekly store specials (aka the “loss-leaders”), the sale items that are usually on the front page of the weekly circular most stores publish. If you’re not a creative cook like me, try a website like Delish or Epicurious, where you can enter the ingredients you have to work with and get all kinds of recipes.

Now look at all the money you’ve saved!

Read Full Post »

By David Servan-Schreiber

We’ve known for many years that consuming copious amounts of certain specific fruits and vegetables reduces our risk of developing various types of cancer. But a recent study reminds us that this protective effect is not linked to all fruit and vegetables. Some foods contain larger amounts of anticancer molecules. Thus we need to be attentive to our choices.

Lifestyle and Cancer:
Cancer is not a disease whose origin is principally genetic, as many people continue to believe. It is a pathology that is closely linked to a range of lifestyle factors, particularly smoking and obesity (which stems from our sedentary habits and our dietary choices). Several studies have shown a direct link between the regular consumption of certain fruits and vegetables and a reduction in risk of developing various types of cancer.

Protective studies showing links between consumption of specific foods and the incidence of cancer in human populations:
2010-04-24-foods.gif

Source: Beliveau, Gingras, Blaslyk, Eating Well, Living Well: An Everyday Guide for Optimum Health

It’s particularly important to specifically include these in our diet, because not all fruits and vegetables share the same potential for active prevention against cancer. There are major differences in their levels of anticancer components. In some cases the phytochemical components that provide the greatest cancer-preventing activity are present only in a few, very specific fruits and vegetables. For example, the isoflavones of soy, the resveratrol of grapes, the curcumin of turmeric, the isothiocyanates and indoles of broccoli and the catechins of green tea are all anticancer molecules whose distribution among plants is extremely restricted.

In other words, even though all fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a balanced diet, only some of them can truly influence the risk of cancer.

Quality, Not Quantity
The importance of including these foods in our diet is fully illustrated by results of studies that examine the global risk of cancer according to the total quantity of fruit and vegetables consumed, without regard for specific types. For example, a study of more than 100,000 American health professions did not establish that total consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer (1). However, within this same population researchers have observed a significant reduction in the risk of bladder cancer in men who consumed large amounts of cruciferous vegetables (2), and a significant reduction in the risk of prostate cancer following regular consumption of tomato-based products (3). A European study of 400,000 people has just produced similar results. Total consumption of fruit and vegetables is not associated with a significant reduction in the total risk of cancer (4). However, results previously obtained from this same population show that certain fruits (particularly citrus fruit) considerably reduce the risk of stomach cancer (5).

These observations indicate that the development of various types of cancer is modulated differently by the specifics of the fruits and vegetables consumed, rather than by the quantity of overall consumption. This is very important, because in the United States fully half the fruit and vegetables consumed are relatively poor in protective impact (potatoes, iceberg lettuce, canned tomatoes), while the per capita consumption of plants rich in anticancer molecules — such as cruciferous vegetables — is barely 1 %. Increased consumption of foods that contain high amounts of anticancer molecules (cabbage family, garlic family, green tea, small fruit, citrus fruit, tomatoes and carrots), and which are thus able to target several distinct processes essential to the growth of cancer cells, is absolutely essential in order to reduce significantly the risk of certain cancers.

All fruits and vegetables are excellent for overall health. They protect, for example, against cardio-vascular disease. But in the case of cancer, we continue to emphasize that their protective effects are specific to certain fruits and vegetables.

Read Full Post »