Monthly Archives: September 2016
Eating healthy on a budget can be a real challenge. However, with a little planning and some smart shopping, it is possible to fill the plate without breaking the bank.
In this blog series, we will take a look at some simple tips for preparing healthy meals affordably.
1. Keep Healthy Staples On Hand
Normally, it is a good idea to shop with a particular plan of meals in mind, but there are a few basics it is a good idea to have on hand at all times. Having these staples gives you the makings of a healthy meal ready to go any time:
Grains: Foods like rice, pasta, quinoa, and barley are affordable and versatile, working in many different dishes. Keep in mind, though, they can be high in calories, so be careful with portion size. Also, less processed grains are generally a better choice than more highly processed versions. For example, wild rice is usually a better choice than pasta, which is typically more processed.
Beans: Beans are a very affordable source of protein, and canned beans are easy to prepare very quickly. Rinsing canned beans before cooking them can help reduce the amount of sodium that ends up in the final meal.
Oil: If you have a little oil and some vegetables, you have all you need for a healthy and delicious meal. Oil can also be used as the basis for homemade salad dressings. Making your own dressing, instead of buying it premade from the store, can be a fun, quick, and tasty way to trim your food budget.
Garlic: Garlic is relatively inexpensive; it keeps for a long time; and it can be added to all sorts of recipes. Often just the smell of garlic sautéing in oil as you begin your recipe is enough to make people ask, “What are you cooking? It smells delicious!”
Seasonings and Spices: While a fully stocked spice collection can be pricy, keeping just a few of your favorites on hand is a great way to add flavor and variety to your diet.
Canned or Jarred Tomatoes: Canned or jarred tomatoes are less expensive than the fresh variety, and they will keep for much longer, so it makes sense to keep them on hand as a staple. In recipes that involve cooking your tomatoes, canned or jarred tomatoes substitute well for their more expensive cousins.
Canned Fish: Canned tuna, sardines, or salmon are a great way to quickly include some low-cost protein in a variety of meals.
Next time we will take a look at more tips. In the meantime, if you have any tips or tricks you use to help eat healthy and affordably, please leave them in the comments below. Until next week: Happy cooking!
Andrea Berez, MS, RD, CSP
- Balanced lunch with lots of color
- Can substitute meat tortellini for chicken or cheese or spinach based on taste or dietary preference
- Satisfying lunch with lots of complex carbohydrates and fiber
Recipe for “Yummy Tortellini for Lunch”:
- Tortellini salad (cook pasta; add peas in last 2 minutes; toss with pesto or tomato sauce, your choice)
- Small tossed salad with 2 tablespoons of olive-oil based salad dressing on the side.
Blog by Andrea Berez, MS, RD, CSP
How often do you have a gut feeling? While you may just think these feelings are “in your head,” research suggests that our brains and our guts (our digestive systems) are closely linked. Think about the last time you had to do something stressful. How did your stomach feel? Experts see stress as a prime contributor to a range of digestive problems.
The digestive system holds more nerve cells than the entire spinal cord. Ninety-five percent of the body’s serotonin, a mood hormone, is found in the digestive system, not the brain. When the brain is feeling stressed, it releases hormones that can have strong effects on the digestive system. Stress can cause stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Long term stress can cause far more problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The National Institutes of Health estimate that one in five Americans have some signs of IBS. IBS may not always be a clear diagnosis as it is characterized by cramps, bloating and alternatively having diarrhea and constipation.
Here are other digestive issues that can be affected by stress:
-Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to get the digestive system back to its regular state. Or they can check to ensure these symptoms aren’t part of another issue.
To help bring your body to a good place, a great way to start is with calming the mind through meditation or by some therapeutic approaches. Also establishing exercise programs, a healthy diet, and sleep are key. Get yourself to a better place.
Karen L. Leibowitz, MD
- Low calorie and low fat
- Can throw in extra veggies for more fiber, antioxidants, flavor and color
- Satisfying and comforting after a long day
Recipe for Kid-Friendly Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch piece
1 small onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper, if desired
1/2 cup small pasta (such as stellette or alphabet)
Whole grain crackers, for serving
Step1: In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, 6 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Step 2: Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours (the low setting will make total cooking time 8 ½ hours).
Step 3: Twenty minutes before serving, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Remove and discard the onion and bay leaves. If the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. Add the pasta to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
Step 4: Meanwhile, shred the chicken. When the pasta is cooked, stir the chicken into the soup along with the parsley. Serve with the crackers, if desired.
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories: 293; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Sodium: 464mg; Carbohydrates: 16g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 4g; Protein: 30g; Iron: 2 mg, Calcium: 49 mg
Andrea Berez, MS, RD, CSP
-Yoga benefits memory and helps ward off cognitive issues.
-Hatha yoga improves the brain function and processing (speed and accuracy).
-It prompts and enhances self-awareness and reduces stress.
-Yoga helps improve psychological health in the areas of anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. There are studies that suggest yoga can produce effects similar to anti-depressants and therapy.
-Yoga helps with anger management and emotional resilience.
-The meditative aspects of yoga help to lower blood pressure, improve immunity, improve sleep, lower the risks of heart disease, and calm the nervous system.
-Clinical studies have shown that yoga stimulates skin pressure receptors that boost brain activity. This influences the production and release of hormones.
There are many types of yoga classes. Educate yourself on a style and class environment that is best for you. Often you can “sample” classes at KareBoost Health when you purchase a package. Ask current students about the particular classes and instructors. Always check with your doctor to ensure there are no yoga postures for which you might have contraindications, like inversions for example.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are far too numerous to list. Find your yoga today and make your brain happy.
By Leslie Pomeroy, CHYT