Nutrition on a budget: Buying dairy products and meats

Author: Canadian Living


Nutrition on a budget: Buying dairy products and meats

Buy value packs of meat and poultry. Usually packages of eight to 12 pieces cost a bit less per kilogram than the smaller packages. Divide them into serving sizes suitable for one meal for your family and freeze the portions in freezer bags.

Plan for leftovers. For example, instead of buying chicken breasts, buy a whole chicken and use the leftovers for casseroles, soups, stews, wraps, salads or sandwiches. Make double batches of soup and chili - enjoy some immediately and freeze the rest for fast and nutritious meals on busy days. The added bonus: Chicken with the bone in is tastier!

Prepare organ meats more often. The price is right and they are fairly low in fat and an excellent source of iron, zinc, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Liver is also an excellent source of vitamin A (it is, however, very high in cholesterol so should be eaten in moderation).

Buy frozen fish fillets when fresh is too expensive or unavailable. Choose fatty fish that are high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel. Herring, trout, sardines and anchovies are also considered higher-fat, omega-3 rich choices. Lean fish, such as cod, haddock and sole also contain omega-3s but at much lower levels. To get the best value nutritionally and taste-wise from fish, don't overcook it!
Go for more quality, less quantity. Buy more expensive cuts and eat less.

At the deli counter
Check the unit price for deli- or store-packed cheeses. They may be cheaper than commercially packaged name-brand varieties.

Lean deli meats are convenient and nutritious. Fresh-sliced deli meats are convenient, low in fat and nutritious, if you buy lean meats such as smoked or roast turkey, chicken and ham or roast beef or smoked pastrami. Though these meats often contain non-meat ingredients such as water, salt and glucose, if you stick with the lean meats and avoid mock meats such as bologna, salami and wieners, which are all high in fat, you'll still be eating a good source of protein. Buy only the amount you need and avoid wastage.

Buying dairy products and meat alternatives
Use tofu instead of meat or to extend meat. Add to chili, soup, noodle dishes. Choose tofu that has been made with calcium sulfate.

Buy plain lower-fat yogurt and add your own fresh or frozen fruit. Use fresh fruit that is in season such as peaches and berries in the summer; year-round, economical bananas are a great taste addition and a source of vitamin A and potassium. Canned fruit, packed in juice with no added sugar, is also good in yogurt. (Your body will be able to absorb the calcium in yogurt as long as you've eaten foods with vitamin D or are exposed to sunshine.)

If you buy margarine, choose one that is non-hydrogenated. The process of hydrogenation produces trans fatty acids that have been shown to raise LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. If you use it on a regular basis, buy larger size tubs for economy. Remember to spread thinly.

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Nutrition on a budget: Buying dairy products and meats