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Kaylor: Stretch your fruit and vegetable budget

By Staff | Feb 28, 2014

Do you and your family members eat enough fruits and veggies for good health? Most people need 1 to 2 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day to meet the recommendations.

Enjoy the taste of eating right during March, National Nutrition Month. Include a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your menus. They’re rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants that promote good health.

Which of these money-saving strategies do you use or plan to use? Check (?) the ones that apply.

Use fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Broccoli, mangos, oranges, spinach and strawberries are some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season from March to May.

Read the store ads and/or online sales ads for pricing on fruits and veggies.

Compare the prices of fruits and vegetables among your favorite stores.

Make a grocery list and stick to it.

Be sure to have a snack before you shop to avoid impulse buys.

Compare the prices of canned, frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables for the best buy.

Canned and frozen often are less expensive. To get the most nutrition for your money, look for fruit canned in 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables that are labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added.”

Buy the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that you will eat before they spoil.

If you find a bargain on fruits or vegetables, consider buying extra and freezing it.

The “Food Freezing Guide” (FN403) has advice for a range of foods.

Buy fresh vegetables and fruits in their simplest form.

Precut, ready-to-eat fresh vegetables and fruits are convenient but may cost a lot more. Do a little of the work yourself to stretch your dollars.

Consider planting a garden in your yard, a community plot or a container.

Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/horticulture to learn more about gardening.

Old fashioned beef and vegetable stew

1 Tbsp. canola oil or other cooking oil

1 pounds stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 c. onion, cut in 1-inch chunks

2 c. carrots, peeled and cut in -inch slices

1 c. celery, cut in 1-inch chunks

3 c. potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks

3 c. beef broth (reduced-sodium, canned or made from bouillon or soup base)

1 bay leaf (remove after cooking)

3 tsp. of cornstarch in 2 Tbsp. of cold water (thickener)

Salt, pepper (to taste)

Rinse and prepare vegetables as directed. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add beef and cook until the beef is browned. Add remaining ingredients (except the thickener) to browned beef, bring to boil, then simmer covered for about 1 to two hours. Add more liquid if needed. Bring to boil at end of cooking time. Mix cornstarch with about 2 tablespoons of water to make a thin paste for thickening, then add to pot and cook on low while gently stirring.

Slow cooker directions: Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Mix browned meat and other ingredients (except thickener) and cook on low for eight to 10 hours. Increase heat to high at the end of the cooking time, add thickener and stir gently until thickened.

Makes eight servings. Without added salt, each serving has 230 calories, 8 grams (g) of fat,

21 g of protein, 16 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fiber and 115 milligrams of sodium.

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