Myths and Facts about Eating Healthy on a Budget
Posted: July 5, 2012
Myth or Fact: Canned and frozen foods are not as healthy as fresh.
Myth. But, it can be tricky to find healthy foods if you don’t read the Nutrition Facts label first. Look for less than 10% daily value of sodium, buy the low sodium version, or drain and rinse vegetables to reduce sodium by up to one-third. Purchase frozen produce with no added sauces or sugars. Other canned foods to choose are canned meats and fish, packed in water. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans now states to consume no more than 2000mg of sodium per day, or 1500mg if you are older than 50 or have high blood pressure.
Myth or Fact: All fats are unhealthy.
Myth. Fat is an essential nutrient for our bodies, but some kinds are definitely not as healthy as others, and so should be limited. Fast should make up about 30% of our diet, and the majority should be from healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats like canola, olive, safflower, and sunflower. Other healthy fasts are omega-3 such as from fish and flax seeds. Unhealthy fats to be limited are saturated and trans-fats from meats and dairy and more processed snacks and desserts, which help clog arteries and contribute to heart disease and strokes. Purchase lower store brand non-fat milk and dairy products and lean meats to extend your food budget.
Myth or Fact: Protein can help keep you feeling full and thus ward off hunger.
Fact. Consuming mixed meals and snacks from carbohydrates like grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and protein from beans, seeds, nuts, fish, poultry, eggs or meats will slow digestion compared to consuming only carbohydrates. The myth is from thinking we need to consume high amounts of protein. Protein needs range from 10-20% of the total diet. Eating a meatless meal once or twice a week will help extend your food budget.
Myth or Fact: Food additives are bad for your health.
Myth. Food additives, such as preservatives and artificial colors, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so are safe for consumption. In fact, without food preservatives, our food would spoil much quicker from mold or yeast, and increase our food waste.
Myth or Fact: Fruits and vegetables are high in pesticides.
Myth. Again, the FDA regulates the kinds and amounts of pesticides that can be used on produce, and those grown in the United States are below accepted safe levels. Farmers have continually been reducing the use of pesticides over the years, using integrated pest management practices. To extend your food budget, purchase produce in season at your local farmer’s market.