Today I attended a Legislative Day in Richmond with the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It was a very long day – getting up at 4:45 am and getting home at 8:30 pm. However, I learned a lot of cool things about how our state government functions, and was very glad I went. While I was there, they gave out free breakfast and lunch! So awesome! Here is a picture of the breakfast bar I ate.
This morning I ate scrambled eggs, toast, and a glass of milk. I forgot to mention earlier that I usually eat organic dairy and meat because of my beliefs on eating hormone free animal products. I don’t mind paying a higher price for these ingredients because I believe they are better for my body. That being said, I definitely could not afford organic milk and meat on a SNAP Challenge meal plan. So when I went to buy the store brand of eggs, meat, and milk, I was SHOCKED at how inexpensive they were in comparison! I seriously haven’t purchased conventional animal products in over 5 years, so I had no clue how much cheaper they were! I was amazed that I could even afford to buy them on a SNAP budget! Therefore, I am really glad to know that SNAP recipients are still able to afford good sources of protein and calcium.
This morning I ate oatmeal with some skim milk and peanut butter swirled in. I must say that I really love milk. When I was little, my mom made me drink it and I didn’t find it that amazing, but now that I am older, I can’t get enough of the stuff! Good thing too, because it is so good for you! Do you like to drink milk? I prefer 2% actually, but I bought skim this week because it was cheaper.
Written by Lindsey Kummer
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014
As a college student, a lot of my meals are eaten out. Finding healthy options can be hard at times, but I want to share with you a great method of how to create healthy meals, anywhere you go!
A popular fast food restaurant for college students is Chipotle. If you add on a tortilla, extra cheese, sour cream, and chips with guacamole, you will leave yourself with a high calorie meal containing excess saturated fat. But, you can still get the taste you crave, while eating healthy.
For your meal, include:
- Protein – chicken is the leanest, and if you are a vegetarian you can include either kidney or black beans
- Whole grain or complex carbohydrate – Chipotle now offers brown rice, which is an excellent option. If you are not a fan of rice, you can substitute with beans which also contain complex carbohydrates
- Vegetables – fajita vegetables are available (includes onions and peppers), along with corn, lettuce and fresh salsa. Try to include at least 2 of the available vegetables in your meal
- Fat – Do not be afraid of fat! My favorite is Chipotle’s guacamole, but you may also include cheese. Did you know that avocadoes, the main ingredient in guacamole, have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels and improve overall health?
By skipping the tortilla and ordering a bowl or salad instead, you can save an extra 300 calories and 10g of fat! That is about the caloric and fat content of a typical breakfast! When ordering, just remember:
protein + whole grain + 2 vegetables + fat
And there you have it!
What are some of your favorite restaurants? What do you order while eating out that is healthy, yet delicious?
Dreher, M. L., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/
Nutrition calculator . (n.d.). Retrieved from:
Now that we’ve posted about foods to stock in your pantry and refrigerator, it’s time to “chill” and talk about foods to keep in your freezer. Here are some reasons why your freezer can be your best friend:
- It’s a wonderful time-saving device when you don’t have time to cook from scratch
- Once defrosted, frozen foods are just as tasty as they were when fresh
- Perishable foods last longer when frozen
Freezing is a smart way to avoid wasting food (and money). Foods (like meat) that are approaching their expiration date can be safely stored in the freezer, and thawed once you’re ready to use them. Although perishable foods do last longer when frozen than when kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator, don’t forget that they won’t last forever. This chart is very helpful for knowing how long your frozen foods are good for. Smart tip: write a date on every item you stick in your freezer. That way, you’ll know whether or not it’s still safe to eat.
Also keep in mind that there are right and wrong ways to thaw frozen food items. Read up on the right way to thaw frozen food to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk for getting sick from your food.
Better Pantry Freezer Foods
- Loaves of whole grain bread
- Muffins: make a large batch and store in the freezer for a quick breakfast on busy mornings.
- Pizza dough: having frozen portions ready to go in the freezer makes homemade pizza nights quick, easy, and kid-friendly.
[Loaves of bread can be kept in the freezer to extend shelf life. Make sure loaves are wrapped tightly with plastic and foil to keep any air from seeping in. Muffins and unrisen dough should also be sealed tightly in plastic bags.]
- Berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Tropical fruit mix
[Buying frozen fruit is a great way to keep from wasting money on fresh fruit that spoils before you can eat it. Fruits that are out of season, especially berries, are actually cheaper when bought frozen instead of fresh. Fruit is frozen at its peak in freshness, so you know you’ll always be getting the sweetest, ripest fruit. Be sure to buy frozen fruit unsweetened so that it doesn’t have extra sugar added to it.]
- Green beans
- Blends of several different veggies
[Frozen vegetables are really convenient – they are already prepped and ready to cook so that you don’t have to worry about any rinsing or chopping. Just like fruit, out of season fresh veggies can be expensive. Buying the frozen option can save on cost without losing flavor.]
- Fish (tilapia, flounder, shrimp, salmon)
- Ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
[If you find a good sale on meat, stock up and freeze the extras to use later on.]
- Hard or semi-hard cheese
- Cottage, ricotta, and cream cheese
- Sour cream
[Freezing dairy products can cause changes in their texture. For that reason, these items work best when added into recipes instead of being eaten alone. For more basics on freezing dairy products and how freezing may change their quality, click here.]
- Jams and jellies: check out these tips and recipes to make your own “freezer jelly” at home.
Not only can you freeze the individual “ingredients” listed above, but prepared meals like stews, soups, and casseroles can be frozen and reheated later on. Check out this helpful fact sheet, paying special attention to page 2 for tips on freezing and serving prepared meals. See, your freezer really is a wonderful thing!
What’s in your freezer? How long has it been since you cleaned it out? Now might be the time to sort the fresh items from the freezer-burned!