It isn’t rare to hear comments about the costs associated with eating healthy. But utilizing food scraps (like stale bread and carrot stems), which are inevitable in most kitchens, is one easy way to save money. Here are eight tips.
If you like kale, try Swiss chard
This popular leafy green has an underappreciated relative! Pick up a bunch of Swiss chard and enjoy the succulent green leaves and delicate, crunchy stems.
If you like apples, try jicama
Fresh, crunchy and slightly sweet–this lesser known root veggie is low in calories (45 per cup) and high in fiber.
Pumpkins are fun to turn into Jack-o-lanterns, but you can use the flesh, seeds and empty pumpkin shell in your kitchen to make delicious and antioxidant-packed dishes. If cooking with fresh pumpkin is too labor intensive, use canned pumpkin puree (made from 100% pure pumpkin) to get the same nutritional goodness without the hassle.
Recipes to try:
- Slimmed Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits
- Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
These days, there are more than 100 varieties of lettuce available, giving us an endless assortment of colors, textures and shapes to adorn our plates — and countless ways to work more healthy greens into our diets. (Read more here about creative uses for leafy greens.)
In addition to traditional lettuces, unique, heirloom varieties are often offered at farmers’ markets, and they’re definitely worth a try. Don’t be shy: When perusing lettuce, ask questions such as, “Is this lettuce more like a buttery Bibb or sharp arugula?” The grower will love bragging about the taste and textural qualities of the leaves!
And for those times when you don’t have the opportunity to ask, use this cheat sheet!
Butter Oak: Varieties include Flashy and Blushed; the oak-shaped, super soft leaves are achieved by crossing butterhead-type lettuce with oak leaf lettuce.
Buttercrunch: Bibb-type lettuce with thick, juicy leaves and subtle buttery flavor.
Cimarron: Large, tender, red romaine with orange-yellow center; flavor resembles blend of red lettuce and romaine.
What They Are and When to Enjoy:
Radishes belong to the cruciferous vegetable family which takes its name from the Latin root crux, meaning cross. But rest assured, eating them is no cross to bear! They are deliciously crisp and fresh tasting with a subtle spiciness.
Enjoy radishes at their finest in April, May and June. Red Globe are the most common variety in the U.S and are frequently sold with their greens attached. To choose the best ones give them a squeeze. The bulbs should feel firm, not soft. Crisp, green leaves and medium-sized roots are also good indicators of a winning bunch.
Most folks don’t get enough of the recommended dietary servings of veggies and miss out on the health benefits—like a lower risk of heart disease, possible reduction in blood pressure, and protection against certain types of cancer. Understanding how much counts as one serving can help you plan your meals to meet the recommendations.
According to USDA’s My Plate 100% vegetable juice, dark green vegetables (broccoli and mustard greens), red and orange veggies (carrots and peppers), starchy vegetables (corn and potatoes), and beans and peas (kidney and soy beans) all count towards your recommended daily servings. Fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut up and pureed veggies all count.
Adults 18 years and older should aim to take in between 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Here are the specific guidelines:
- 19 to 50 years: 2 cups
- 51 years and older: 1 ½ cups
- 19 years to 50 years: 3 cups
- 51 years and older: 2 ½ cups
There’s no doubt vegetables have lots of good nutrition to offer, but how you purchase, store, and prepare them can dramatically affect their value. Here’s what you need to know when cooking up your favorite veggies.
Farm to Table
As soon as vegetables are picked, their nutrient clock beings to tick away. The more time it spends off the plant, the more vitamins will be lost.
For this reason, seeking out local produce when possible is never a bad idea — the less time it takes for the veggies to get to your plate, the more nutrients they’ll retain. Support local agriculture in your community or get your hands dirty by planting some of your own herbs and vegetables – you can’t get more local than that.
Once you get those fresh vegetables home, minimize additional nutrient loss by eating them right away or storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Cold temperatures will limit the degradation of vitamins so use the vegetable drawer in your fridge (where humidity is higher) and store in an air-tight bag or container. Avoid trimming and chopping prior to storage too, this will limit surface area and help lock more of the vitamins inside.
Everyone’s buzzing about cauliflower these days. It’s simple, tasty and apparently very trendy; we love that this cruciferous veggie is getting a chance to shine!
Low in calories (25 per cup) but high in nutrients (fiber and vitamins C, K and B6), cauliflower also boasts various antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain types of cancer.
Cauliflower is unique because has the ability to morph into many different forms. When it’s mashed, pureed, roasted or boiled – the texture and flavor completely change.
White is the most widely available variety, but you may also be able to find green, purple and orange versions at your local famers’ market.
This line of gluten-free frozen dishes, soufflés, and veggie muffins has taken the market by storm. I spoke with Garden Lites’ co-founder Jeff Moskowitz to find out the secret of their success.
Q1. How did you come up with the idea of creating Garden Lites foods?
I wanted to make foods that would help people live a healthier lifestyle. There’s no healthier food than vegetables, but people seem to look at veggies as something they HAVE to eat versus something they WANT to eat. I wanted to change that perception.
Q2. You have a delicious line of soufflés. Are they meant to be eaten on their own or can they be used in cooking?
Our consumers eat them for breakfast, lunch or a hearty snack as well as cut them up and serve as a side dish. The soufflés also make a wonderful ingredient. We started a partnership with Meatless Monday where we post meatless recipes using our soufflés on our social media and cross promote it on Meatless Monday’s Facebook page. That has been very successful. We have a lot of really amazing recipe ideas (like our Veggie Lasagna below), which you can find on our website. We will also be expanding our recipe section on our new website starting in January 2013.