(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.
- Consider your 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
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
- 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
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association
- 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
- 1/4-1/2 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 2-3 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 3-4 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 1-2 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.
(Family Features) With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets and dishes, combining them with dairy products can create a superfood power couple. For example, the cheddar cheese found in these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers helps optimize nutrient absorption from the rice, black beans, corn and tomatoes to create a nutritious and delicious appetizer or meal.
Find more recipes that combine the goodness of dairy and plant-based foods at milkmeansmore.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- 6 large sweet bell peppers
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans plain (drained and rinsed if using canned beans)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed half sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
- Slice the tops off of the sweet bell peppers. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and white membranes from the insides of the peppers. Discard the pepper tops and seeds. Place the peppers onto the prepared half sheet pan; briefly set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the diced onion, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans, and brown rice until combined. Sprinkle the chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper over top before stirring to distribute the seasonings throughout. Fold 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese into the filling, reserving the remaining cheese for later.
- Stuff the open cavities of the sweet bell peppers tightly with filling, mounding a bit of the filling over the top edge of the peppers. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar cheese over top of the filling. Bake the stuffed peppers for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is heated through, the peppers soften, and the exteriors begin to wrinkle. Serve immediately.
Use on-hand ingredients for a quick-fix meal
(Family Features) Between juggling the ever-shifting to-do list and busy weeknights, there’s not always time left in the day to comb through cookbooks to find the perfect recipe. Even with a potential meal plan in mind, life can get in the way, and running to the grocery store might not be a top priority.
For a quick meal without a lot of hassle, an option such as Eckrich Smoked Sausage can be paired with whatever you have in the refrigerator or pantry for a fast, foolproof meal the whole family can enjoy. Since it is pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat and eat, taking the guesswork out of cook time while offering a rich and savory protein option for a balanced and delicious meal.
With flavors and forms ranging from the Original Skinless Smoked Sausage Rope to spicy Jalapeno & Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links, a home-cooked breakfast, lunch or dinner is just moments away – no instructions or plans needed. You can be a rebel without a cookbook and deliver diverse and delightful meals for your loved ones, such as this Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry.
For more mealtime inspiration, visit Eckrich.com.
Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 package Eckrich smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 servings premade white or brown rice
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
- 1 package stir-fry dry seasoning mix
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- sliced green onions (optional)
- In pan over medium-high heat, brown sausage; set aside.
- Heat white or brown rice according to package instructions.
- In same pan over medium-high heat, heat peanut oil and stir-fry vegetable mix. Add stir-fry dry seasoning mix, honey, vinegar and sesame oil.
- Divide rice, sausage and stir-fry mixture among four bowls.
- Sprinkle each with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if desired.
(Family Features) With a new school year beginning, it’s important for parents to be prepared and help their children start forming good habits. For example, most children function better on a routine. They wake up every day at a certain time, they practice the same sports and eat nutritious, fresh foods that fuel their bodies.
One healthy option for kids is seafood. When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are all needed for strong bones, brain development, healthy immune systems and cardiovascular systems.
In fact, research published in “Acta Paediatrica” shows an association between kids who eat fish at least once a week and better grades.
With a new routine in place, it can sometimes be hard for parents to keep up, but with fast-cooking seafood like thin fish fillets and shrimp, a healthy dinner can be ready in minutes. However, since some kids can be picky eaters, consider these tips from Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools, to add seafood to your family’s table.
- Start creating meals featuring seafood early in their lives, as children who are exposed to seafood at an early age may develop a fondness for the cuisine.
- Introduce them to mild varieties such as cod, pollock and haddock, then have them try other species as they become accustomed to the taste.
- Seafood can be substituted in nearly any dish that normally calls for chicken, beef, pork or other proteins. Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood.
- Canned seafoods like tuna and salmon make for quick, budget-friendly options when time is short, plus they can be mixed in with a variety of recipes.
For more seafood recipes and meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
Hearty Salmon Skewers over Brown Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 pound salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- 8 skewers
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup pineapple, cubed
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Coat salmon with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika, to taste. Slide piece of salmon onto skewer, followed by tomato and then pineapple. Repeat three times on each skewer, or until skewer is full.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup canola oil 1 minute.
- Place skewers in pan and turn every 2 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon on skewers while cooking.
- To serve, place 1/2 cup rice on each plate and two skewers on top. Squeeze hint of lemon over each serving, if desired.
Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership