A workshop and food preparation demonstration on preparing healthy, low-cost meals was taught on September 6, 2023 by Ms. Laura Anne Warren, Family and Consumer Science Agent, Pulaski County Extension Office, Little Rock AR. The following are some key points from the workshop:
Overall statement: We are often overfed and undernourished, consuming a high number of calories with a low amount of nutrition.
Tips to Reduce the Amount of Food We Consume:
· Eat more slowly – chew your food for a longer time before swallowing it. (Don’t just scarf it down)
· Retain our tongue – experience the world through our taste buds.
· Drink more water
· Exercise more – walking – routine physical activity is very important for our health
Tips for Cooking Healthy, Delicious Food
· Recipes with a limited number of ingredients can be delicious.
· Drain off and rinse fruits and vegetables out of cans.
· Read the labels, to see what the first five ingredients are, and look for lower sodium, reduced fat. We don’t want a lot of extra chemicals.
· Parmesan cheese has a lot better taste if you buy a chunk and shave it yourself (but it costs a little more).
· Walnuts are an excellent heart-healthy protein food
· Instead of sale, use cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh Basel, mint, lemon juice, lime, or vinegar
· Healthy foods
o Make a wrap by wrapping the food in a lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla
o Choose whole grain tortillas and whole grain bread
o Avoid or reduce sugar consumption (SUGAR IS HARDER TO KICK THAN HEROIN)
Ways to Reduce Food Costs
· Fresh foods purchased in season are usually lower in cost
· Always make a list of what you need before going to a grocery store
· Don’t take your kids with you to the grocery store
· Have a little snack before you go to the grocery store
· Store brands are quality products but cost less than national name brands. (Often they are produced by the same food processor)
· Understand that “Use by date” signs on canned foods are for use by the company
o Canned foods usually last longer, sometimes much longer.
o If there is any swelling or leaks from the can, discard it. Same for bad smells, or significant off-color of the food
o Milk products are pasteurized, so the harmful bacteria are cooked out of it (you can drink chunky milk)
· Grocery stores use FIFO – first in, first out. So look at the dates to be used by for milk, greens, etc., and select the food item with the longest use date.
· Extend hamburger by substituting half of the required portion by using textured vegetable protein. (TVP is really dried tofu)
· Avoid these more expensive foods:
o Pre-cut vegetables
o Deli fruit trays
o Whole roasted chickens (are packed with sodium)
o Name brand food items
Check out MyPlate.gov for simple, excellent recipes
Do you remember the food pyramid? Meet MyPlate, the official symbol of the five food groups. The MyPlate.gov website has:
· Many easy, low-cost recipes
· Learn how to eat healthy
· MyPlate quiz
· Budget-friendly food ideas
· The MyPlate diagram to help plan healthy meals.