Speedy Weekday Meals from Melissa Dobbins

Eating healthy can be quick, easy and cost-effective. Use these tips and resources to make some changes in your weekday meals.

Cook Once and Eat Twice
Make double or triple recipes to ensure leftovers for another meal.

Make casseroles ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers in single serving containers.

For quick and healthy recipes go to quickandhealthy.net and nutrientrichfoods.org/recipes

Cut the Fat and Boost the Nutrients
Lean meats: Use lean ground turkey in place of ground beef in any recipe (a turkey burger saves you about 20 grams of fat compared to a regular burger.)

Nutrient rich vegetables: Buy bagged spinach instead of other salads – this can also be steamed in microwave for a hot vegetable (spinach provides vitamin A, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C); serve a bowl of raw cut up vegetables; bake a sweet potato in the microwave.

Whole grains: Use microwavable rice packages – about 90 seconds in the microwave (whole grain rice provides 5 grams of fiber vs. 1 gram in white rice); serve whole grain bread with light margarine; choose high fiber tortillas (provides 7 grams of fiber vs 1 gram per regular tortilla); add beans to rice, pasta, salads.

Dairy foods: Low-fat and fat-free dairy products provide calcium, protein, potassium and other important nutrients.

For more information on nutrient-rich foods go to nutrientrichfoods.org/index.html, beaninstitute.com, dairymakessense.com/recipes/default.aspx.com, and fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

Buy Better and Save More
Save time: Organize your grocery list into food groups for quicker shopping

Save money: The Illinois Dietetic Association is partnering with Feeding Illinois on a Hunger Challenge for one week. The challenging is for everyone to eat for just $4.50 per person per day.

For more information go to feedingillinois.squarespace.com

Protein is one of the most expensive components to our diet. Beans, eggs and dairy products are high quality sources of protein that are cost effective. Buy in bulk – Store and/or freeze extras until needed. Make your own '100 calorie packs' of crackers, veggies, fruits. Use coupons only for items you were planning to buy. Choose store brands or generic when cheaper. For more information go to eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442451885&terms=budget

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