Eating Well on a Budget: Part 3 – Vegetables
Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 8:00 am
Vegetables. As children, our moms pushed us to finish our veggies before standing up from the dinner table. As adults, we do the same thing to our own kids. Love them or hate them, vegetables are necessary for a well-rounded diet. They provide our bodies with much needed nutrients like iron, fiber, vitamin C, carbohydrates and more. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of 28 vegetables that provide you with the most nutrition at the lowest cost. Each member of your family should aim for 3 servings of veggies a day. The Environmental Working Group recommends spending about $6.00 on vegetables for every $25 spent on your overall food budget.
The Environmental Working Group’s list of vegetables include: kale, mixed salad greens, spinach turnip greens, fresh pumpkin, sweet potato, tomatoes, frozen corn, fresh lima beans, Brussels sprouts, chayote, eggplant, okra, snow peas, zucchini and other squashes. The vegetables that provide the best value include: alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, onions, green onions, potatoes, calabaza, carrots, tomato juice, broccoli, collards, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, and parsley. Keep in mind that many dark greens along with potatoes may have more pesticides than other vegetables. If your budget allows for it, look for organic varieties. Of course, you can branch out from this list as well. While these are the EWG’s “best picks,” there are plenty of other vegetables out there for you to try and enjoy!
Greens keep your body full of iron and B vitamins, which help your body produce blood cells to keep your energized and feeling great. Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, and lima beans are filled with healthy carbohydrates, which when digested, convert into energy. It’s important to remember that it’s best to eat a variety of vegetables, but you want to limit the starchy stuff. Like many things, high-carbohydrate veggies are best in moderation.
There are plenty of ways to eat your three daily servings. Add a vegetable or two to your dinner plate each night or pile a few on your sandwich for lunch. You can also enjoy carrot sticks or broccoli with some hummus for a mid-day snack that is low in calories and great for you! Try chopping up a variety of vegetables and add them to your favorite broth to create a delicious vegetable soup. This is also a fantastic way to use up a bunch of produce before it goes bad. With vegetables, the possibilities are endless!
Try stocking up on longer lasting vegetables to make your dollar stretch further. Potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes last for several weeks. You can also buy frozen vegetables to cut back on costs.
Just like fruit, shopping for vegetables seasonally will help you save money and enjoy an organic diet. You can also pick up some veggies at your local farmer’s market. You’ll often get produce at a fraction of what you’d spend in a market.