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The Budget Smart Cook Has a Nutritional Make Over

If you made a New Year’s resolution to eat more healthful foods but have fallen by the wayside, here’s your second chance. March is National Nutrition month, and it’s a great time to start evaluating what’s sitting in your fridge or pantry.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Check out this Web site, www.5aday.com. Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day is the recommended amount, and it’s not that difficult to squeeze them in. I try to eat at least one at each meal, including snacks. For example, I’ll eat fruit on cereal or waffles for breakfast, an apple or orange for a mid morning or afternoon snack. A salad with greens, tomatoes, grated carrots for lunch, and maybe a couple of vegetables for dinner. Spreading them out throughout the day makes the whole process that much more achievable. And a great way to save money is to serve more vegetables and cut back on meat. For example, vegetable potpie, a vegetable lasagna etc. And a money saving tip is to buy vegetables that are in season and then freeze them.

Eat More Fiber
Fiber helps keep your blood sugar at a steady level all day so you’re less likely to get hungry mid morning or mid afternoon. A time when many of us go looking for high sugar treats just to keep us going. These days just about every food company is offering at least one whole grain product. And they’re a lot more palatable than they use to be. One ideal breakfast is oatmeal…also believed to lower your cholesterol. Serve it with some fruit and you’ve got an almost perfect meal.

Cut Down on High Fat Foods
Most high priced convenience foods are high in fat, so you’ll not only be doing something good for your health, but your wallet too. Cut down on fat and save your pennies by making your own oven fries. Try oven-roasting vegetables and broil meat, chicken and fish instead of frying them.

Cut Down on Sugar
For the last couple of years I’ve made a conscience effort to cut down on the amount of sugar I eat. And I’ve found it’s best to do it gradually. In fact, don’t even try and cut it out all at once. Over time your taste buds adjust, and you’ll soon find that foods you once thought were just right are suddenly much too sweet.

Cut Down on Soda
And speaking of sugar, one quick and easy way to cut down on calories is to cut down on soda. I know it’s tough at first, but one product I like when I’m craving soda is one of the flavored seltzer waters. Or buy one of the Pur water filter products. They now have flavors like raspberry and peach you can add to plain water. Or try a combination of half 100% fruit juice and half seltzer.

Learn to Read Nutrition Labels
One easy way to get a nutritional makeover is to start reading food labels. Learn what really is low in fat or low in sugar. It’s a way to save money too because you won’t end up buying foods that have little or no nutritional value.

Learn About Basic Nutrition
One way to monitor what you eat, and what you buy is to learn about basic nutrition. No, you don’t have to register for a class or read textbooks on the subject. Thanks to the Internet, there are some informative sites that present everything in a down to earth fashion. Some even have interactive games and tools you can use.
Two great sites to check out include-
www.dietitian.com
www.ahealthyme.com/topic/healthyeating

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