The Food Bank is committed to ensuring our agencies, and the clients they serve, have the resources they need to promote and access healthy foods. Below, are links to helpful recipes and nutrition tips to help you eat healthy on a limited budget.
Ancient grains is a term used for specific types of grains that have not been changed in the last several hundred years. They come in many varieties and textures and can be added to many dishes!
Apples are a great source of fiber, providing 4 grams per apple (including skin), and about 100 calories. Apples are very versatile for cooking, and are the most cultivated tree fruit in the world.
All About Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans (commonly called chickpeas) are a great, inexpensive, and easy-to-use protein option for many meals or side dishes. Chickpeas are used around the world, including in the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.
If you are looking to avoid excess added sugar and saturated fat, try making a healthier versions of a favorite recipes by following the tips on substitutions below.
Beans are very low in cost when compared to other high protein foods like chicken or pork, and are a great, easy-to-use protein option for many meals or side dishes.
Berries contain molecules called antioxidants, which are essential to the body. Antioxidants act like “superheroes” in the body, and the “villains” that they fight off are called free radicals. Read why this is important for your health.
Blue and Purple Fruits and Vegetables
The majority of people in the U.S. are not getting enough servings of every color category of fruits and vegetables. It’s recommended that adults get 4 cups of blue and purple fruits and vegetables per week.
Bread is one of the oldest man-made foods. Learn how to store it to make it last and get some budget-friendly recipes that use bread as a main ingredient.
Many people may think of cabbage as a boring vegetable used in coleslaw in the summertime or alongside corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. Many people do not realize cabbage is actually a very versatile vegetable packed with nutrients. It is a source of fiber, very low in calories, fat-free, high in phytochemicals, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Canned chicken is versatile and affordable. Like tuna, it is easy to add into any meal as a protein source.
Cooking for One or Two
Fed up with limited healthy meal options? Tired of eating leftovers all the time? If you usually cook for one or two people, you probably face these frustrations. Small-quantity cooking can be made easier.
Cooking Well on a Budget
Eating on a budget is difficult and can be overwhelming at times. There are many barriers that may get in the way of not only eating well, but eating healthfully. The Nutrition department will be referring to Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap cookbook which focuses on tips, tricks, techniques, and recipes for making good food, on a $4 per day budget.
Cooking on hot summer days can sometimes feel like a dreaded chore, because using an oven or stovetop can make the house hot and uncomfortable. But there are ways to prepare hot meals without the use of an oven. Microwave ovens and slow cookers can help you prepare budget-friendly, delicious meals!
Corn 101: Facts & Recipes
In New England we enjoy native sweet corn each summer, but corn is an essential part of diets across the globe year-round.
Delicious Dairy: Including dairy in the diet is one of the key ways to get a whole host of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, and niacin. Here we have some tips for choosing the best kinds of dairy products, and some quick and easy recipes.
Diabetes & Label Reading
People with diabetes need to regulate their carbohydrate intake to try to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Knowing what things to look for on a food label can make managing your diabetes through your food choices much easier, and will help you to keep your glucose levels in check.
Diabetes y Datos Nutricionales
Entender lo que incluye la etiqueta de información nutricional puede ayudarlo a tomar las decisiones relacionadas con los alimentos que más beneficien su salud. Diabetes es una condición que no tiene remedio, pero se puede controlarla con una dieta saludable.
By planning ahead when you food shop, you can prepare many balanced, healthy dinners in less than 30 minutes, with less sodium, calories, fat, and chemical additives than processed foods. Usually you will also be spending less money to feed yourself and your family a healthy home prepared meal.
Besides costing more money, restaurant and takeout meals often pack enough calories, saturated fat, and sodium for the entire day! Try keeping restaurant and convenience food to a minimum. The next time you’re in need of a quick meal out, consider your choices carefully– some are much better than others.
Eat Right to Stay Sharp
Many studies suggest that “you are what you eat” when it comes to preserving and improving memory. There is also a major benefit from regular physical activity in maintaining cognitive abilities and memory.
Egg Myths and Facts
Eggs are an inexpensive, source of 6 grams of high-quality protein as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Despite all of their health benefits, many people still hesitate to eat many eggs. Here are some common myths and facts our nutrition staff would like to share with you…
With the various dates we see on food packages, it can be tough to know when to keep food and when to toss it. Paying attention to these dates, in combination with storing foods properly, can help reduce risk of contracting a food-borne illness.
Our bodies work extra hard during extreme heat to regulate temperature, which can result in fluid loss, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Be aware of the signs of heat related illness, and exercise caution. Eating easy-to-prep summer meals are important too. See recipes.
Fabulous Fish: Fish is a nutritious, low-fat, high quality protein that is a great source of vitamins D and B2 and contains the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Learn guidelines for preparing fish and a few easy recipes.
Facts on Fats
Fats are sometimes portrayed as a “bad” nutrient that people should avoid in their diets, but that is far from the truth. Fats are a source of energy that the body needs and uses for many different functions. However, depending on the type of fat and how much of that certain fat is eaten, it can result in health problems.
Fad Diets and Their Misleading Claims
Fad Diets come in many types of forms but all of them claim fast weight loss. However, these claims are usually false with little to no scientific evidence supporting these diets, and some of these diets can even be harmful to a person’s health.
Food Safety in the Kitchen
Most of the organisms in food that can make you sick don’t create slime or bad smells. Focusing on food safety can help prevent you and your family from getting sick from food borne illnesses.
Food Safety in a Power Outage
In case of an emergency, this tip sheet will help you figure out which foods are OK to eat, and how to keep your foods safe longer while the power is out and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Freezing Fruits & Veggies
Next time you’re about to toss that bunch of browning bananas, or empty the produce drawer that’s full of zucchini or spinach, you could consider freezing them instead. Many foods can be frozen for months!
Getting More Whole Grains
When people think of whole grains, they often only think of whole wheat bread. While, yes, whole wheat is a whole grain; there are many others!
Gluten Free Foods
These days, there’s lots of talk as well as confusion about “Gluten free foods”. What foods contain gluten? Why do some people need to avoid eating them? Many foods labeled as gluten free are naturally gluten free anyway. Here is “Gluten 101” to help shed more light on this topic.
Green and White Fruits and Vegetables
Green and white vegetables are packed with nutrients that keep your digestive tract healthy and reduce risk of certain types of cancer. Preparing these recipes can help you add more of these super foods to your diet.
Good and Cheap
Cooking on a limited budget can be a challenge; this cookbook can help you make
affordable meals without having much kitchen skill.
Picking up food from convenience stores or fast food places usually ends up costing us in calories, sodium and fat, let alone making a dent in our wallets over time. Skipping lunch altogether or snacking throughout the day on junk isn’t a healthy path either. Packing your lunch the night before will help you feel less rushed in the morning.
Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning with SNAP Benefits
It can be extremely challenging for individuals who receive nutrition assistance benefits to maintain a healthy diet. Here are some ideas on how to shop and prepare healthy meals on $4.56 per day in SNAP benefits. A detailed grocery list, along with a bonus meal plan and recipes, is included.
Guide to Greens
Leafy Greens come in all different shapes, textures, sizes, flavors, and colors. While they may look different, all of them are packed with vitamins and minerals. Greens are considered ‘superfoods’ and have been shown in research studies to help prevent cancer.
Healthier Comfort Foods
As the weather gets colder, it’s time for comfort foods. Often high in fat, sodium and sugar, here are some lighter options for you to cozy up with.
Salads made with dark green lettuce, mixed greens, corn, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, broccoli, celery, radishes, mushrooms, avocado, peppers, or leftover cooked veggies are filled with color, vitamins, and minerals, and low in calories. Add a healthy protein such as chicken, salmon or tuna, canned beans, cottage cheese, turkey, nuts, or hard-boiled egg —along with a fruit and/or
whole grain side, and you have a balanced meal
Water makes up about 60% of the human body. Taking in sufficient water through food and beverages is essential to good health.
Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas
A healthy, balanced lunch gives kids, as well as adults, energy to avoid an afternoon slump, focus better on work, maintain weight by avoiding excess calories, and feel less hungry once you get home after a long day.
How to Enjoy Your Leftovers
How do we “Recycle” food? We can use leftover foods creatively, and not just reheat and eat.
Ideas for Using Stale Bread
If bread is moldy, throw it away, however; it if is hard and dry, there are many uses for bread past its prime. It can be made into bread crumbs or croutons or stuffing, moistened into thick soups, or incorporated into sweet or savory bread puddings.
Is it Too late For Good Health?
Research shows that healthy lifestyle adaptations at any age can significantly improve your health.
Iron and Calcium Absorption
It is important to get the daily recommendation of vitamins and minerals, but some nutrients compete for absorption, meaning it isn’t always possible to get the most out of these foods. Two minerals that Americans do not get enough of are calcium and iron.
Kids (and also adults) can be very picky when it comes to eating all the different food groups they need. Here are some sample healthy recipes that the kids will love without knowing they are getting their servings of fruits and vegetables!
Making the Most of Your Microwave
Microwaves are one of the easiest cooking tools to use. They can also do much more than just heat frozen dinners or leftovers. Affordable and healthy meals can be prepared with access to a microwave and a refrigerator. There’s no need for a stove or oven to make a wide variety of tasty dishes.
The Mediterranean Diet
Research has shown that a traditional Mediterranean diet can actually reduce your risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with lowering levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies, which reduces plaque build up on our arteries and lowers blood pressure.
Research suggests that practicing mindful eating can help a person control their weight and even help with weight loss. Not only that, but the experience from eating mindfully is an enjoyment in itself!
On a warm day, the last thing most of us want to do is spend time cooking in a hot kitchen. Conserve your energy and give the stove and oven a break with these no-heat meals. Beyond salads and sandwiches, these dishes feature creative ways to use the fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available and cheaper this time of year.
Nutrition and Seniors
Our daily eating habits change as we grow and age. It’s beneficial to make small adjustments and healthier choices to
keep our bodies feeling their best.
Orange and Yellow Produce
Not only are orange and yellow fruits and vegetables delicious, but they are great sources of flavanoids, potassium and more!
Whether they are four or fourteen, picky eaters can be difficult during mealtimes. To best address these problems, the Nutrition Department at The Food Bank has compiled some tips on how to handle a picky eater.
Protein is a must-have nutrient. Every cell in the human body contains protein. While most Americans eat enough protein, many protein sources like meats and cheeses provide too many calories and saturated fats. Try to substitute healthier choices for some of the red meats you eat.
Pumpkins can be used to carve, to decorate, and can even be cooked to eat! Pumpkin is high in: Vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B 6, and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is great for immune health.
Nutrient-packed pumpkin adds a budget-friendly twist to a fall and winter favorite!
Quick Tips for Eating Healthy
Many people know the common tips for eating healthy. But how do you translate these recommendations into the dozens of diet and exercise decisions you make each day?
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Based on the results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 2010, 8 out of 10 people in the US are not getting enough servings of every color category of fruits and vegetables. It is recommended for adults to get 4-5 cups of red fruits and vegetables per week to meet our nutritional needs.
Rotisserie Chicken Leftovers
The same chicken from the night before doesn’t always taste as good the second or third time around.Here are some other ideas to remake that boring left-over chicken into a new, fabulous meal.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Winter Nourishment
During the winter months many people may feel lethargic, and run down. A diet filled with mood-boosting foods helps.
Sausage, Kale & Potato Soup
This soup is hearty, filling and packed with nutrients!
Simple Breakfast Ideas
People who eat breakfast tend to make better food choices and eat fewer calories throughout the day, experience more energy and sharper brain functioning, and are less likely to be overweight.
On the run in the morning? Do you skip breakfast because you feel you don’t have enough time? Need a light, healthy snack between meals? Easy, nutritious smoothies could be right for you.
Spice it Up!
Not only do spices help with immunity, but they create unique mouth watering flavors in different types of dishes. It is important to include spices when cooking in order to help boost immunity and fight off colds and flu.
Spice Up Healthy Eating
Buying spices may not be your first priority; they can be expensive and do not help keep you full or give you energy. However, small bottles can last for many meals, so invest in them when you can — check with your local dollar store or discount grocer for good deals.
Stocking a Healthy Pantry
Having your pantry shelves stocked with nutritious food is a necessity for quick and healthy meals. You’ll have the essentials to prepare meals for your family easily and quickly. Keeping these vital items in the pantry will help create nourishing meals and snacks for everyone.
There is strong evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages to risk of being overweight. In addition, recent studies show that extra calories in the diet from sugar are more likely than other calories to aim for your waist (visceral fat) and the liver.
Take it Slow
Slow Cookers (often generically referred to by the brand name “Crockpot”) have been around for decades, and come in a variety of sizes from 1 to 6 quarts. They are an efficient appliance for someone who will be gone all day but wants to serve a substantial home-cooked meal at dinner.
The Versatile Veggie Burger
Home-made veggie (or ‘vegetarian’) burgers are a delicious and nutritious alternative to the traditional hamburger. Making veggie burgers instead of beef hamburgers is an easy way to eat less calories, fat, and cholesterol, while including more lean protein, extra fiber, vitamins and minerals into your diet.
Canned tuna is a great staple to keep in your pantry. Tuna offers many of the nutritional benefits of fresh fish, with lower cost and a long shelf life. Many cans now have a flip top for ease of opening without a can opener, and it also comes in pouches. Tuna is high in protein and contains heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Veggie Sides - Good and Cheap Cookbook
Leanne Brown created a SNAP CookBook—Good and Cheap to provide a resource that uses basic food items to create affordable meals that don’t take long to prepare. Download this book for FREE online!
Veggie Stir Fry 101
Eating plain, steamed solo vegetables can get boring. Why not try fixing a vegetable sauté (stir-fry) with as many colors as you can?
Waste Less Food
The average American family throws out $1,600 worth of food a year. As seen on the Food Network’s special, The Big Waste, food past its prime can be turned into a delicious meal.
Big Y Sack Hunger
Purchase groceries or Sack Hunger cards at Big Y locations in western MA and donate to The Food Bank.