Mary Beth McCue RD, LDN, CDN
There are many methods and opportunities to eat healthy while being penny-wise and “green” during this time of positive reflection on how we impact our environment, our pocketbooks, and our health.
Convenient and instant foods are normally more expensive, always less nutritious and leave you feeling tired and lifeless. Many have no whole foods and therefore natural nutrients; many contain non-food items. You will begin to be healthier, happier, more energetic, and more capable of living your life to your fullest potential by practicing the suggestions below.
Eating a plant based whole foods diet from local organic or sustainable sources is widely recommended by experts in Integrative Medicine for prevention, wellness and recovery from any health condition. Try to choose one of the items below every week or every other week, so you gradually have tried them all and have incorporated what works for you as an ongoing life-style practice.
This is the best way to hydrate the body. Use your own reusable container and carry it with you throughout the day to try to ingest a total of at least 8 – 10 cups /day, mostly between meals. Have your water source tested for purity harder plastic #7 or higher, stainless steel, or glass. If you like to flavor your water, put 10 % of a beverage in your water. Or ginger, fresh mints, or fruit wedges.
Purchase local/sustainable whole foods; look for sale items
Purchasing and Eating with the seasonal food changes is the healthiest way to eat, incorporates ongoing variety, and should be the most economical. Join your local food co-op to purchase at bulk prices. Consider a membership at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm or one that is sustainable practices, and consider a fun adventure at a local farmers market. Find purveyors of local and organic foods through eatwellguide.org.
Use Fruit & Nuts for Snacks
Buy fresh and local fruits. Look for sale items. Place in refrigerator in a bowl and place a container of nuts next to it. Avoid buying juice., snack items, candy, ice cream, etc. Have these on a special occasion. Fruit is more nutrient dense, more satisfying and less calorie dense.
Cook Whole Oats, colored Rice or Quinoa for Breakfast
Purchasing these dry products are far less cheaper and much more nutritious than cereals. Add salt and a fat medium like flax or coconut oil to increase refrigerator shelf life. In the morning, scoop in a bowl. To balance more nutritionally, add fresh fruit, nuts or seed, flax meal, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice mix, stevia, or small drips of honey or maple syrup.
Plan Menus and Shopping List
This will avoid purchasing more than you need. Purchase only what you need and try to use some items for more than one meal or snack. For example, you purchase carrots on sale and you use them for snacks, soups, salads and sides of cooked carrots.
Cook Homemade Soup or Stew
Maybe a week you have purchased produce you have accumulated a variety of vegetables cooked or raw. Toss in a large soup pot. Add your favorite spices or a dry soup mix, water and you favorite bullion flavors, and a protein source such as ground turkey breast, chicken, dry Total Vegetable Protein (TVP), even left over sliced meats. Cooked pasta or rice and add as you use the soup. Freeze some for later use as you eat the soup for a couple days.
Find Support to Help Make these Changes
Change is more fun and easier to obtain when you engage with others. There are many ways to create this. Join a CSA and split the membership with someone else; find people in your neighborhood- church- exercise group – that may be interested in doing a very small garden. Create a variety amongst a group and exchange your crops as they grow. Create a community garden. Take turns with pot-luck dinners at friends house once a month and exchange dishes, recipes, success stories, etc. Go to www.VeggieTrader.com. This is a site to trade, buy or sell local homegrown produce.
Take homemade foods to work, school, trips, etc
You will save on costs and be assured you will have healthy choices. Use leftovers, sandwiches, soups, salads, nuts, fruits, and much more.
Try a simple new recipe once every week or two
This is very helpful to get back to more whole foods cooking. Ask at the farmers market, your food co-op, or go on-line. There are many sites with great recipes, try www.whfoods.com.
Grow a couple herb plants on a sunny window-sill or outside.
Pinch off what you need and the plant will continue to grow. This is much more convenient, healthier and less expensive than purchasing fresh herbs.
About the author: Mary Beth McCue RD, LDN, CDN is an Integrative dietitian recognized for her work in Holistic and Functional Nutrition. She is a certified and licensed Nutritionist in NY and MA., and is certified in Functional Nutrition & Medicine by the Institute for Functional Medicine. With more than 20 yrs experience in clinical, wellness and integrative/holistic nutrition, she offers Corporate, and Community programs, and consults with individuals at the Roosevelt Baths and Spa in Saratoga Springs. Mary Beth has successfully assisted everyone she works with to health recovery, including herself. For more information: www.SIPN.edu. To schedule a consultation: SaratogaNutrition@earthlink.net or ph 518.257.6530.