Everyone has a budget these days, especially with the rising cost of food, products and services. Whether you are on Food Share or not, money can be tight. Finding ways to stretch those dollars can be challenging but very important, especially so you can choose the foods that benefit your health.
The do it yourself (DIY) websites have made it very easy for people to save money and make healthier choices. These sites offer access to healthier recipes, for example, YouTube videos not only share various recipes, but also show you how to cook them!
So, here is the challenge I propose to you. For one week try planning a menu and choose healthy options for each meal. Go to www.eatingwell.com, this website gives you more than 30 days of simple recipes to pick from. Once you pick the meals you plan on making for the week, take part of a day to prep and freeze these dishes. Now you are all ready to pull them out of the freezer to eat during the week. This will help stretch your budget and/or your Food Share dollars. Plus, your new meals are healthier and “fast food” ready to just heat!
Next, try getting the fussy eaters in your house to get more greens into their diet. Try making smoothies for kids, or adults! Here is a recipe for a delicious green smoothie:
- 2 cups of liquid (water, almond milk, coconut water, etc),
- 2 cups of greens (spinach, kale, or romaine) and
- 3 cups of frozen or fresh fruit (banana, apples, peach, pear, mango, pineapple, berries, etc).
- Optional: Low fat yogurt or ½ of an avocado for added protein or to make it creamier.
Put your choice of liquid, greens, and fruit in a blender. Blend together until smooth. Enjoy! Hint: dark berries hide the green color if kids do not like greens.
Furthermore, do you feel like you are spending too much money on sugary caffeinated beverages? Try adding lemon, lime, cucumber or mint leaf to your water. Flavored water is super healthy for you and the money you save by not buying those highly sugared, caffeinated, diet drinks, can be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Check to see if you are eligible for Food Share and Women, Infant, and Children (WIC). If you qualify for Food Share, your children can get free or reduced meals. WIC will give you additional dollars on foods that are important for prenatal children or children under the age of six. Plus, all programs can give you additional dollars in your budget for housing, transportation, etc. if needed.
Call Maureen Wilson, your local Food Share Specialist, at 715-496-3121 for screening, application assistance and help with renewals. Contact WIC by calling 715-349-7600 extension 1952.
Submitted by: Maureen Wilson, Food Share Specialist
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