Eating Healthy On A Budget

In these tough economic times, it's not hard to eat healthy and still be on a budget.

Registered dietician and Early Show contributor Keri Glassman showed on Tuesday how to get maximum nutrition for minimum cost -- and she put recipes where her advice is!

She pointed to five food groups that can save you big bucks at the grocery store while still providing nutritious, tasty meals. Inexpensive food doesn't have to be unhealthy food, Glassman proved.

The five groups are: brown rice, frozen produce, canned fish, eggs, and beans.

BROWN RICE

Brown rice is a whole grain, high in manganese (useful for energy production, and an antioxidant) and selenium (an antioxidant, helps prevent colon cancer), as well as important B vitamins (Thiamin and Niacin, which are lost when refined).

The benefits of choosing whole grains over refined grains are numerous. To name a few: weight loss, increased satiety, stabilizing blood sugar, cancer prevention, prevention of heart disease.

Rice is a very versatile; it can be used in soups and stews, stir-fries, beans and rice, rice salad, rice pilaf, rice and bean cakes, rice pudding, and even healthy fried rice.

Serving size: 1/4 cup, uncooked
Price per serving: around 10 cents
Nutrition per serving: 150 cals, 1 g fat, 1 g fiber, 3 g pro, 4 percent Daily Value Iron, 10 percent Daily Value Thiamin, 10 percent Daily Value Niacin

FROZEN PRODUCE

Did you know frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious, if not more nutritious, than the fresh fruits and vegetables in the produce section?

Frozen fruits and veggies are processed at peak ripeness, blanched (which causes minimal loss of soluble vitamins B (thiamin) and C, then flash-frozen, all within hours of being picked.

"Fresh" produce found in grocery stores, on the other hand, is picked before it is completely ripe, so isn't given a chance to fully develop all of its nutrients, then shipped to its destination. In that time, it's exposed to oxygen, heat, and light, which results in the loss of important vitamins, specifically vitamins B (Thiamin) and C.

You can use frozen produce in soups, stews, stir-fries, side dishes, and more. Try saute spinach with garlic, cauliflower mashed potatoes, or a vegetarian pasta dish.

Frozen fruit: Add this to muffins and/or pancake mix; use in smoothies; blend and heat for a topping for pancakes, waffles, yogurt, or oatmeal; top warm berries with a dollop of frozen yogurt or whipped cream.

Serving size: 1 cup
Price per serving: 33 cents (broccoli), 90 cents (strawberries)
Nutrition per serving:
Overall fruits and veggies: good source of vitamins A and C and fiber, and low in calories, and fat-free
Broccoli (1 cup): 24 cals, 0 fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g pro, 10 percent DV Vit A, 2 percent DV Calcium, 60 percent DV Vit C, 2 percent DV lron
Strawberries (314 cup): 50 cals, 0 fat, 2 g fiber, 60 percent DV Vit C, 4 percent DV lron

CANNED FISH (TUNA, SALMON, SARDINES)

All great sources of omega-3 fatty acids shown to reduce risk of heart disease, blood clots, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Can also help with weigh loss, provide satiety, and support a healthy metabolism.

Add to pasta dishes, use in tuna/salmon salad, fish cakes, salad toppings, add to omelets, add to grilled cheese.

Serving size: 3 oz.
Price per serving: around 62 cents
Canned Tuna: Overall high in protein and high in omega 3 fatty acids
Nutrition per serving: 60 calories, 0.5 g fat, 13 g pro, 8 percent DV B6, 20 percent DV B12, 2 percent DV Iron, 20 percent DV Niacin, 8 percent DV Phosphorus

EGGS

High in protein, low in carbohydrates, source of brain-boosting choline, cheap, and easy to use. The yellow of the egg does contain cholesterol, so if you're watching your cholesterol, limit your consumption of the yellow (yolk); otherwise, the white can be eaten all day long!

Eggs can be used to make frittatas, omelets, egg salad, sliced on top of crackers, and hard-boiled with a little salt and pepper as a snack.

Serving size: 1 Large egg
Price per serving: 19 cents
Nutrition per serving: whole egg: 70 cals, 4.5 g fat, 6 g pro, 6 percent Vit A, 2 percent Calcium, 4 percent DV Iron; egg white: 17 calories, 0 fat, 3.6 g pro

DRY BEANS

Beans are a very versatile legume. They're good for your heart, and that's not all! Beans are low in calories and high in fiber, protein, and iron; they're a great meat substitute! The fiber in beans can help lower your cholesterol, keep you regular, remove toxic, cancer-causing substances from your digestive tract, and help keep your blood sugar stable. Plus, research has shown vegetarians to have a lower risk of cancer than carnivores or omnivores; we're not suggesting you go completely vegetarian, but replacing one-to-two typically meat/poultry-based meals per week with a vegetarian meal may reduce your risks!

Uses: bean burritos/quesadillas, beans and rice, bean salad, topping on salads, vegetarian bean chili, purred white bean soup, plus add to soups, stews, or serve as a side dish on its own

Serving size: 1/4 cup uncooked
Price per serving: Average 14 cents
Nutrition per serving: 70 cals, 0 g fat, 15 g fiber, 9 g pro, 4 percent DV Calcium, 15 percent DV Iron

FOR PLENTY OF RECIPES USING THESE HEALTHY, INEXPENSIVE FOODS, TO GO PAGE 2.