How to Get the "Most Bang for Your Buck" at the Grocery Store
Today, consumers are looking for ways to eat healthy and to incorporate more authentic, natural and wholesome foods into their diets – the less processed the better. But with quality, wholesome foods also comes the misconception that eating healthy can be expensive. That's why the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of GOT MILK?, has partnered with Dairy Council of California to inform consumers throughout the Golden State on ways to stretch their dollars, to get "the most bang for their buck" at the grocery store, without sacrificing nutrition in celebration of National Nutrition Month.
"While junk foods may seem really convenient and affordable, you don't want to make them the basis of your diet because they don't offer a lot of nutritional bang for your buck," says Ashley Rosales, registered dietitian from Dairy Council of California. "If families pay close attention to what they add to their grocery baskets, they'll find ways to really stretch their dollar and easily purchase authentic, wholesome, nutrient-rich foods without breaking the budget."
Believe it or not, basic staples such as milk, sweet potatoes, beans, oatmeal and fruits like oranges, tangerines, apples and bananas can be easily purchased for less than $1 per serving and are considered nutrient-rich Super Foods. They are foods that offer multiple nutrients while providing a myriad of health benefits with minimal calories. For example, a can of soda could cost up to a dollar and has no nutritional value. However, if families really look into stretching their dollar, they can get four, eight-ounce cups of skim milk for that same dollar, while also getting nine essential nutrients including Vitamin D and calcium for strong bones, muscles, teeth, hair and nails.
The USDA's My Plate nutrition guide released last year recommends that families' meals consist of at least half fruits and vegetables, a small portion of whole grains and lean proteins and topped off with dairy, such as a glass of low fat or nonfat milk. Other foods that yield multiple servings to stretch the dollar at the grocery store for a family include:
* Fruits: Fruits are packed with a lot of essential vitamins, like Vitamin A and C, which can promote proper growth and improve our immune system. There are many fruits that are also a great source of soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol. Nutrient-packed fruits for about a dollar include three oranges, three to four bananas or three apples.
* Vegetables: A diet high in vegetables provides important antioxidants, which may help protect cells in the body from damage. Most vegetables are also low-in fat and calories yet packed with many vitamins, minerals and fiber. Nutrient-packed vegetables for about a dollar include three servings of sweet potato or three servings of baby carrots.
* Whole Grains: Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet and are good sources of complex carbohydrates and B-vitamins, which our bodies need for energy. Whole grains are also packed with fiber, which can help you stay full longer. Nutrient-packed whole grains for about a dollar include six servings of oatmeal or 10 servings of brown rice.
* Protein: Protein is crucial to building and maintaining healthy, strong bones and muscles, which is why athletes make it an important part of their diet. Protein also helps our bodies resist against infection. Nutrient-rich lean proteins for about a dollar include eight servings of beans or one, four-ounce serving of chicken breast.
"In today's tough economic climate, it's important to know that healthy eating is readily accessible to everyone," says Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. "We're proud to partner with Dairy Council of California for National Nutrition Month to debunk misconceptions about nutrient-rich foods. It's all boils down to making smart choices for each and every dollar."
To instill this message with families GOT MILK? and Dairy Council of California will also be visiting select Boys & Girls Clubs in Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento to educate young people firsthand about the types of nutrient-rich foods that are available to them and how to incorporate these foods into their meals. Studies show that the earlier children know about making informed food choices, the better equipped they are to practicing a healthy lifestyle and eating habits later in life.
For more information on National Nutrition Month and the GOT MILK? campaign, visit gotmilk.com.