Educator Idea File: Recession-Busting Foods

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Recession-Busting Foods – Stay Savvy at the Supermarket by Deanna Segrave-Daly, Registered Dietitian from her interview with FOX 29, Good Day Philadelphia

With the economy in the tank, we all are looking for ways to save a few bucks. Since Americans spend a good chunk of change on food, here’s what to put in your grocery cart to save money and stay healthy - you can tighten your budget and your belt. Here are 4 ways to save money and gain health:

1) Go for the Grain - By now, you’ve heard the benefits of eating more whole grains and it turns out, they are pennies per serving. Buy oatmeal, brown rice or popcorn in bulk or larger containers/bags. For your next batch of oatmeal, boil oats in low-fat milk for a creamier texture and top off with some sliced banana and walnut pieces. • Oatmeal – 14 cents per serving versus individual instant packets 32 cents per serving • Brown rice - 15 cents per serving • Popcorn - 10 cents per serving

2) Where Have You Bean? One of the most inexpensive proteins around, beans are also high in fiber but low in fat. Canned beans are a terrific staple to have in your pantry and there are dozens to choose. • Eggs and beans are the least expensive protein sources • Cut a serving of meat in half and load up plate with more veggies and rice, pasta or potatoes. • Toss beans into salads and soups; mix into pasta; add to salsa or puree into dip. • Canned beans – 12 cents per serving (dried beans are even cheaper at about 5 cents per serving) • Rinse the sodium

3) Your Friend, The Freezer - Most Americans need to triple their veggie intake. Freezing locks in vitamins and stops nutrient loss that occurs in fresh produce over time and you have less waste • Frozen broccoli – 37 cents per serving • Frozen pineapple – 40 cents per serving

4) Don’t Ditch the Dairy - When food prices go up, we often look to the cost of a gallon of milk. But even during a recession, a serving of milk is still one of the best nutrient bangs for your buck. • Nutrient Rich Food - Penny for penny – you still get a great bang for your health buck • Fat-free milk – 21 cents per serving • Yogurt in big container – ½ cost per serving versus small containers • Homemade smoothie (1 cup each, milk, yogurt, frozen fruit) – $1.09/16 oz serving vs. To-Go Smoothie – $3.39/16 oz serving The Bottom Line on Cheap Eats: • Make a grocery list and stick to it; the fewer trips to the store you make means the fewer impulse purchases you will make - it is always better to plan a menu so you don’t buy stuff you don’t need. • Consider bulk and store brands • Use unit pricing to make best decisions •?Frozen and canned items are usually good values and they have a long shelf life Deanna has her own communications company. You can read more about her at If you have a presentation idea to share, email us through Food & Health Communications is offering free posters for state dietetic meetings and other conferences for food and nutrition professionals. One poster can be given away or raffled off for every 100 attendees. For more information and an application form, visit and click on “free posters for meetings” under “free resources.”

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