|By Jill Armayor for DRS Health
Many Americans have breathed a great sigh of relief after learning that the complex, and often confusing, “Food Guide Pyramid” is now obsolete. The new and improved model, called MyPlate, was recently initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture and officially launched to the American public by First Lady Michele Obama.
MyPlate is an easy to understand diagram, which divides your plate into four relatively equal sections. The USDA recommends that half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, a fourth of your plate should be made up of grains, and the remaining fourth should include proteins. A little circle off to the right of the plate, resembling a glass of milk, represents your dairy intake.
Members of the public have produced an unexpected backlash, raising a valid point that it is a financial strain for many Americans to plan their diets to revolve around these guidelines. These days, it is more important than ever to save a buck whenever possible. Eating healthy can be cost efficient.
Here are ten tips that will help you attain an optimal eating plan without breaking the bank:
- Drink water instead of sodas or juice. You don’t need the extra sugar or the calories, and filtered water can be free.
- Replace some of the desserts and snack foods in your pantry, like chips, cookies and crackers, with fresh produce instead. Celery sticks, carrots, bananas, apples and oranges make excellent snacks. Fresh berries with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dollop of yogurt sweetened with honey can make a healthy and tasty dessert.
- Purchase meat and poultry in bulk, divide it into separate containers and freeze it. Buying meat and poultry at a discount warehouse like Sam’s Club or Costco can allow you to profit from buying large amounts at a lower price per pound.
- Eggs are inexpensive and are an excellent source of protein. Purchase eggs as a replacement to the more expensive processed meats, such as bacon and sausage. Season them with salsa and a small amount of low-fat cheese.
- Purchase whole grains and legumes in bulk, without the added flavoring. The boxes with the little seasoning packets tend to be a lot more expensive.
- Consider smoothies for a breakfast on the go. A smoothie made with a bit of almond milk, a splash of orange juice, frozen fruit, non-fat plain yogurt and protein powder is a nutritious and inexpensive way to make sure you won’t skip breakfast.
- Cut back on pricy alcoholic beverages.
- Make every effort to cook at home instead of going out to eat. This will allow you to control your portion sizes and fat content and will help dramatically with your food budget.
- Cut back on your high fat dairy intake, like cheese and ice cream. These foods tend to be expensive to your wallet and to your waistline.
- Find your own healthy recipes, instead of buying the processed version. Making a large amount of any recipe at once and then freezing some is not only cost effective, it also allows you to control the amount of sodium and fat that you consume.
LEARN MORE: Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov