Eating healthy during the recession


By = Stephanie Herzog

One of the many unfortunate side effects of the current economic recession is the strain that people are feeling on their budget for food. Sure home-cooked meals are healthier and cheaper than eating out but even those who cook their own meals have been sacrificing good quality fresh vegetables and other ingredients for less healthy though cheaper items. As vegetarians how are we supposed to balance our shrinking wallets and the rising prices of food, namely fresh vegetables?

Health should be recession proof. Although we may have to adjust the way we spend everyday we should not sacrifice our own well-being. Here are a few tips for helping to stretch your dollar without giving up on nutrition:

Buy staples such as brown rice, dried beans and whole grain pasta in bulk. It will keep for a long time and you can cook the amount you need for each meal.

Steer clear of purchasing junk food. Eat more satisfying, healthier meals and you will be fuller longer. Also, a little leftover brown rice and some steamed veggies (cooked quickly in the microwave) will be more satisfying as a snack than a bag of over-priced cheese doodles (which are full of chemicals and little nutrition anyway).

Purchase bags of frozen fresh vegetables. These keep for quite some time in the freezer and are a great way to prepare a healthy stir-fry or veggie casserole without having to rely on purchasing huge quantities of fresh veggies.

Do you eat veggie burgers or any other forms of soy protein that come frozen? Check your local Sam’s Club or Costco for these in bulk and store them in your freezer. Bread can also be frozen so put some whole-wheat burger buns in the freezer too and pop one of these out with a patty whenever you are craving a sandwich.

Finally, search for vegetarian recipes that utilize basic ingredients or ones that can easily be substituted (green bell peppers for red or yellow example because the green tend to be more cost effective). Grocery stores usually offer pre-chopped mixes of green, red and yellow bell peppers too which will be much cheaper than purchasing all three fresh.

Finally, plan your meals in advance so that when you go grocery shopping you only purchase what you need and do not over-buy and end up letting some things go to waste.