Eat well during hard times
By Roxanne Anderson
Special to amNewYork
The current state of our economy hasnt made things easy. Most of us are trying to be smart with our money and make the most of every dollar.
This has lead to unhealthy eating habits for many Americans, despite the fact that nutrition is crucial. Luckily, there are things you can do to make eating well affordable.Organic vs. Conventional
Organic produce is unquestionably better for your health. Its free from pesticides and irradiation and is never genetically modified. The downside is that its more expensive. Research done by the Environmental Working Group shows that pesticide exposure can be lowered by almost 90% by swapping the 12 most contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables with the 12 least contaminated. This means that we can select the vegetables we buy from the organic section to help reduce our grocery bills.
There are 12 fruits and vegetables that you can get away with buying nonorganic: onions, avocado, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mango, frozen sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, banana, cabbage, broccoli and eggplant. All other vegetables should be organic as often as possible to reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals.
Most grocery stores have a bulk food section where you can buy staples for a healthy diet at much lower prices. If youve never explored this section of the store, it is well worth it. They have huge bins filled with rice, beans, nuts, grains and even some healthy snack foods.
You can buy as much or as little as you like, so its also a great way to try new things. It is inexpensive and environmentally friendly because there is little to no packaging involved, because you scoop out what you want into a plastic bag.
For example, a pre-packaged one-pound bag of organic brown rice costs anywhere from $3.50 $4.50 in most grocery stores; in the bulk food section its usually $1.99 per pound.
Smart Home Cookin'
Preparing meals at home cuts costs significantly and increases the nutritional value of the food.
The key to making it work is leftovers; cook once, eat three or four times. Cook a meal you love and make enough for three or four portions so you dont have to spend a lot of time cooking. Bring your home-cooked meals for lunch at work as well.
These three ideas will significantly cut the amount of money you spend on food. It is common for our diets to suffer when money is tight but we cannot let this happen. Eating poorly will lead to long term problems and huge medical expenses.
So, put a little more thought into your meals and youll be able to afford a delicious and healthy diet.
These are the foods highest and lowest in pesticides:
Sweet bell peppers
Sweet corn (frozen)
Sweet peas (frozen)