One common challenge to good nutrition is the belief that “Healthy eating is too expensive.”
Yes, you certainly can spend a lot of money on food. However, there are many ways to save dollars while still eating tasty and nutritious food. The three key steps are planning before you shop, purchasing the items at the best price and preparing meals that stretch your food dollars.
Here are a few tips:
Select foods easy on your wallet. Certain foods are typically low-cost options all year round. Try beans for a less expensive protein food. For vegetables, buy regular carrots, cabbage or potatoes. As for fruits, apples and bananas are great choices.
Don’t always assume produce has to be fresh. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh and it’s a quick way to add fruits and vegetables to your meal.
Get your creative juices flowing. Spice up your leftovers — use them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad, or to make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away money!
Shop at home first! Check to see what foods you already have in your freezer, cabinets and refrigerator. You can save money by using these items in the upcoming week’s meals.
Plan now, save later! There are many benefits that come along with meal planning such as eating more nutritious meals while saving time, energy and money. Taking a few minutes to plan ahead can eliminate the stress of deciding on a meal at the last minute.
Get the best price. Check the local newspaper, online and at the store for sales and coupons. Don’t overlook store brands. They may be less expensive even when the name brands are on sale. Check sell by dates. Buy the freshest food possible. It lasts longer.
Compare and contrast. Locate the “Unit Price” on the shelf directly below the product. Use it to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning
- 1-1/2 cups salsa
- 20 taco shells
Optional condiments of your choice: shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, chopped tomato, chopped lettuce and/or guacamole
Place chicken in 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. (Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after touching raw chicken.) Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Stir until just combined. Spread salsa over chicken.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F, using a meat thermometer.
Remove chicken from slow cooker, leaving liquid in slow cooker.
Use two forks to pull chicken into shreds.
Add 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker to the chicken. Stir in enough additional slow cooker liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, to make the chicken as saucy as you like. Spoon chicken into taco shells. Top with condiments (if desired).
Makes 10 servings (2 tacos each).
Nutrition information per serving (2 tacos without condiments): 330 calories, 12 g fat, 620 mg sodium 31 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 21 g protein.
Recipe from: Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program