Choose Health for National Nutrition Month

The average American household throws out $2200 worth of food every year. How do you spend less, waste less and still eat a healthy diet that is convenient and tastes good? Follow my 3 easy tips. Or watch them on this segment I did for WUSA, CBS DC.

Choose Variety for Good Health

When we eat a wide variety of foods we tend to eat more vitamins, minerals and plant-based compounds that protect our body from harm. Here’s how you can get a little more variety in your diet:

  • Try 1 new food per week. The easiest way to do this is to stop by a salad bar or restaurant that let’s you build your own bowl. You can add a little of one food or ingredient.
  • Shop in the bulk bin. They let you try a little without making a major commitment. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit and grains also cost less and come with less packaging. Plus you can find foods in a bulk bin that aren’t easy to find in the isles. Red quinoa, black rice, hazelnuts, and a wide variety of dried fruits can be found in bulk bins. Some stores also have protein powders in bulk.
  • Choose prepared foods. Prepared foods save time. In my mind time is money because I can spend that time doing something else.

Think Outside the Box

We all get in food ruts. It is easy to eat the same foods day in and day out. Change this by taking a dish you love and trying it in a different form. This is especially important if you have children because it is a great way to introduce them to new foods. For instance, if you love chicken tenders or strips and fries, try tofu strips or fish sticks (cod sticks are simple to make and soft). This way you are introducing a new food in a very familiar form.  Add jicama fries on the side. They taste great and are are full of dietary fiber, which is good for our gut, heart and overall health.

Reduce food waste and save money.

The average American household throws out $2,200 of food per year! Can you imagine saving over $10,000 on your food budget over five years? Fruits and vegetables are the top wasted food followed by dairy.

One of the best things you can do to prevent food waste is to freeze foods before they go bad. This is a game changer because freezing locks in nutrients indefinitely. Frozen berries should be frozen separated on a tray first and then once frozen, packed in freezer bags (so they don’t clump). Greens should be blanched for 3 minutes. Place them in a blancher or wire basket (I use a steamer basket) and lower them into boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool, drain and package in a freezer pack. You can also easily freeze milk in it’s own container! Allow room for it to expand. Thaw it later and it is ready for use.

I use leftover fruits and greens to make fruit smoothies (any sweet fruit will cover up the bitterness of greens). Leftover rice can be used in a casserole, soup or burrito.

Healthy eating is easy when you follow these three tips. Add variety and shop from bulk bins, choose prepared foods and work on wasting less food.