(NewsUSA) - Making healthy food choices can be overwhelming, especially if money is tight. Good nutrition is at the core of good health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke. "Eating delicious nourishing meals on a budget is possible, especially with a few key tips to make it simple," says Bridget Wojciak, director of nutrition and dietetics at Kroger Health, a national sponsor of the American Heart Association's Healthy for Good initiative. Planning ahead can help your dollar go further.
The American Heart Association has developed tips to help families shop, eat and cook healthier meals on a budget.
- Make a list. Plan your menu ahead of time so you spend your money on what you really need. Try theme nights, such as Meat-free Monday or Taco Tuesday.
- Go frozen. Fresh fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak ripeness, so they're as tasty as they are fresh, won't spoil, and are often cheaper.
- Be sale savvy. Stock up on staple foods such as low-sodium canned sauce and whole wheat boxed pasta when they go on sale. Use store rewards and coupons for even greater savings.
Here's one example of a tasty, healthy meal the whole family will love:
Creamy Chicken Broccoli Casserole with Whole-Wheat Pasta
Serves 6, costs about $2 per serving
- 13.25 to 16 ounces whole-wheat spiral-shaped pasta
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon salt-free Italian seasoning blend or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 16 ounces frozen broccoli, thawed
- 1 15.25-ounce can, no salt added, whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained, or 16 ounces frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
- 8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup fat-free, plain yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting the salt. Drain well in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot. Cover and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, cook the chicken over high heat for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the Italian seasoning blend, broccoli, corn, cream cheese, yogurt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cream cheese has melted.
3. Transfer the chicken mixture to the pot with the cooked pasta, stirring to mix well.
4. Transfer to a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 15 minutes, or until heated through.
Visit heart.org/healthyforgood for more information about planning healthy, delicious meals on a budget, and to download the American Heart Association's "10 for Under $10" recipe booklet.
Nutrition Analysis (per serving):
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 80 mg
Sodium 456 mg
Total Carbohydrate 68 g
Dietary Fiber 11 g
Sugars 11 g
Protein 45 g