Super Foods, Super Cheap
- Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Imagine ordinary food items, available in any supermarket, that are powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and even put you in a better mood. You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply and see to it that you add at least one super ingredient to every meal.
Well, imagine no more. Foods that are high in antioxidants, phytoflavinoids and vitamins are available right now in your local supermarket. When you shop smart, super-foods are no more costly than anything else in your grocery cart these days. In fact, in many cases they're cheaper than all those processed foods, snacks and beverages.
A healthy diet incorporating a variety of these super-foods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease and live longer. Here are the top 15 super-foods, all of them real and unprocessed: beans, blueberries, broccoli, brown rice, oats, oranges, pumpkin, tuna, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, wild salmon, whole wheat and yogurt.
Here's the secret to eating healthily without breaking the bank: When you see super-foods on sale, load up the freezer and pantry with enough to last until the next sale. Even when they're not on sale, most super-foods are far less costly than processed chips, snacks and carbonated beverages. Let's examine just a handful of these foods so you can get an idea of how they can benefit both you and your wallet:
Brown rice. Good for side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, soups and stew. Brown rice is high in fiber and protein. Price per serving: 10 cents. A two-pound bag costs about $1.99 (on sale) and contains 20 servings.
Blueberries. Available year round frozen, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. Blueberries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. Price per serving: 66 cents. A two-pound bag of frozen blueberries costs about $3.99 (on sale) and contains 6 1/2 cup servings.
Multigrain pasta. Great in hot or cold pasta dishes, you can substitute whole wheat pasta in most pasta recipes. One serving (2 ounces uncooked) contains 9 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Got picky eaters? Make the switch gradually by substituting a portion of your regular pasta with whole wheat. They won't even notice. Price per serving: About 28 cents for a 2-ounce (uncooked) serving. A 13- to 16-ounce box or bag of dried pasta costs about $1.79 to $1.99 (on sale) and contains six to eight servings.
Frozen vegetables. Serve them alone as a side dish or add frozen vegetables to pasta dishes, soups and stews. Price per serving: Around 25 cents for a 1 cup serving. Frozen vegetables come in 12- to 24-ounce bags that cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 and contain 6 to 8 cups, depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. You can buy a bag of frozen organic green beans at Trader Joe's for $1.79. A bag of petite peas will cost $1.19, and a 16-ounce bag of frozen chopped spinach costs $1.29.
Canned tuna. Solid white albacore or chunk light in water is great for sandwiches, casseroles, salads or served straight-up with crackers. One serving (3 ounces) provides about 500 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. Price per serving: About 62 cents. You can buy a 6-ounce can for about $1.25, or a 12-ounce can for about $2.57 (on sale).
Can't figure out how to incorporate super-foods as ingredients into your family's daily menu? Websites like AllRecipes.com and MyRecipes.com have thousands of great recipes that include reviews from other cooks. Or go to SuperCook.com, input the ingredient(s) you want to use and let Super Cook find just the right recipe for you.
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