Make cents of a healthy diet
FAMILY FEATURES — One of the great myths of healthy eating is that it’s expensive. Making healthier choices can actually save you money when you know how to shop smart.
To help encourage healthier communities, the American Heart Association and Aramark have simple tips to keep in mind as you seek out affordable, nutritious and tasty food options for your family:
Shop with a plan in mind
Taking a list to the store helps limit impulse purchases, but it’s OK to make smart swaps while shopping if items you’d normally use are on sale.
Fruit and veggie options
Locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables are often reasonably priced for recipes like this Mediterranean chicken and grain bowl. Canned and frozen options, meanwhile, can be just as nutritious as fresh options.
Cook once, eat twice
Choose recipes that make enough food to enjoy fresh for one meal and as leftovers later, such as this four-serving curry-spiced tofu with Asian vegetables.
Buy in bulk
Look for items with long shelf lives like whole grains and non-perishables such as canned beans and vegetables.
Focus on dishes with limited, common ingredients. They are easy to prepare and allow you to avoid purchasing items like rarely used spices.
Develop a budget
Assess your current food expenses each week. Multiply by the number of weeks that month to find your monthly food budget and determine if this fits with your other monthly expenses.
Mediterranean chicken and grain bowl
8 ounces farro or brown rice
6 cups spinach, stems removed
1 1/2 cups diced seedless cucumbers
1 1/2 diced tomatoes
6 thin slices red onion
3 cups cauliflower florets
3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
3 cups cooked skinless chicken breast, visible fat discarded
6 tablespoons fat-free or low-fat crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons kalamata olives
Cook farro according to package instructions.
On serving plate, place 1/2 cup farro. Around farro, arrange 1 cup spinach; 1/4 cup cucumber; 1/4 cup tomatoes; 1 slice red onion, separated into rings; and 1/2 cup cauliflower.
Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad. Top with 1/2 cup chicken and garnish with 1 tablespoon feta cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons olives. Repeat with additional servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 342 calories; 12 g total fat; 52 mg cholesterol; 551 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugars; 25 g protein.
Curry-spiced tofu with Asian vegetables
12 ounces light, extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into four slices
1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, curry powder, divided
12 ounces packaged fresh stir-fry vegetables
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Put tofu on large plate. Sprinkle tofu on both sides with 1 tablespoon curry powder.
In large microwaveable bowl, microwave vegetables and water on high 2 to 3 minutes, or until vegetables are almost tender-crisp. Pour off remaining water.
In large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook tofu in single layer 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to separate large plate. Cover loosely to keep warm.
In same skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook onion 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Stir in vegetables and garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring constantly.
Stir in coconut milk, chili garlic sauce and remaining curry powder. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Spoon vegetable mixture over tofu.
Nutritional information per serving: 151 calories; 6.5 g total fat; 86 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 4 g sugars; 10 g protein.
— Mediterranean chicken and grain bowl courtesy of Aramark. Curry-spiced tofu with Asian vegetables courtesy of the American Heart Association. Find more recipes and tips to make healthy meals more affordable at fyp365.com or heart.org/healthyforlife.