At a recent Yoga class, the personal trainer --Angela Fischetti--who teaches our class urged us to eat more fruits and vegetables.
On a long-term basis, consumption of fruits and vegetables ultimately save money by perserving your financial and physical health. [better health = lower health bills]
Toward that end, I've found these frugal tips for getting more fruit into your diet, while saving money over the long and short-term.
These tips are from (PBH), Produce for Better Health Foundation. My personal favorite is the frozen grape tip, a trick we use regularly in our home.
For instance, PBH suggests:
For the Lunch Box:
* Pack dried fruit instead of candy.
* Pack some chopped veggies (like carrots or celery) and a cup of low-fat dressing for dipping; many stores now offer pre-packaged vegetables, making preparation a snap.
* Pack 100% fruit or vegetable juice in a squirt bottle instead of the usual sports drink or soda.
* Add tomatoes and lettuce to sandwiches to pack a healthy punch.
* Make it a peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich instead of the usual PB&J.
For a Snack at Home:
* Make “Ants On A Log,” a popular combination of celery, peanut butter and raisins.
* Create a colorful fruit salad with all of their favorite fruits. Hint: let them pick out their favorite fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.
* Blend fresh, frozen or canned fruit into a cup of yogurt.
* Draw a picture. Use broccoli florets for trees, carrots, and celery for flowers, cauliflower for clouds, and a yellow squash for a sun. Or, include a message like “I ‘heart’ U” written with a banana as an “I”, a strawberry as the heart, and cantaloupe as the “U.”
* Keep fruit and vegetable treats in the fridge for a quick “grab and go.”
*Take 30 minutes and plan a weekly menu and a “healthy” shopping list.
*Allow your child to select a new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store – make them part of the process.
* Keep a bowl of fruit in the fridge ready for the grab and go crowd.
Eating At Restaurants:
* Make dessert a fruit salad instead of a brownie.
* Switch from French fries to cut fruit or fresh vegetables if available.
* Instead of soda, ask for 100 percent juice.
* Start the meal with a salad or a fruit salad, incorporating as many colors as possible – ask for extra veggies.
* Forget the supersize!
Eating Healthy While Traveling:
* If traveling by car, bring your own food in a small cooler and/or a picnic basket. Find a nice place to stop along the way for a picnic. Not only are you able to control what you eat, but you also save time and money while enjoying quality family time.
* Keep an assortment of dried fruit handy for snacking instead of candy. It will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing disease-fighting antioxidants. Better yet, mix your own trail mix with dried fruit, mixed nuts and sunflower seeds. Portion into zip lock bags or small plastic containers and keep in a basket so they are ready to go when you are.
* Bring individually packed single servings of pre-cut baby carrots and celery in re-sealable bags to snack on along the way. Use small re-sealable containers to pack dips such as ranch dressing, pimento cheese and peanut butter.
* Freeze grapes the night before so that they are nice and cool for the trip. They make great bite-size snacks.
* For convenience, pick up pre-packaged fruit slices or vegetables at your local grocery store. Some even come in their own containers with utensils and dipping sauces!
* Many fast food restaurants offer fruit and vegetable options instead of fries for guilt-free on the go. You can also usually add on a side salad or fruit cup for an additional serving of fruits or vegetables.
* As an appetizer, order a salad with low fat dressing or oil and vinegar.
* Switch to low fat milk from soda or drink tea with one sugar or sweetener.
* Remember that raisins do count as a fruit – pick some up when you stop for gas for a nutritious pick-me-up.
* Opt for tomato juice or V8 on the plane.
* Order a small size fruit smoothie at the smoothie bar.
Tips to help Americans eat more fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost:
* Buy canned fruits and vegetables – they only cost an average of nine cents an ounce.
* Buy frozen fruits and vegetables – they only cost an average of 20 cents an ounce.
* When you are purchasing fruits and vegetables, make sure that you consider the price per pound compared to the price per pound of other foods.
* Consider serving size as an indicator of price – often times serving sizes are smaller than people assume and you actually get more servings for less money with fruits and vegetables.