Are you looking for budget friendly ways to eat more vegetables?
Adding veggies to your diet can actually save you money! I am sharing my tips for getting the most bang for your nutrition buck in the produce, frozen food and canned food aisles.
Here’s an added bonus – most of these ideas will bump up your meal’s nutrition score. You can get more nutrients – vitamins, minerals and fiber – for less calories and sodium. PLUS save time when preparing meals!
Five ways to save and eat more veggies
1. Save with Spinach. I prefer to cook discount-priced baby spinach. Add several handfuls of baby spinach to stir-fries or soups, it cooks down quickly. Easy-peasy way to increase your greens.
2. Turn Broccoli Slaw into Noodles. Pan steam broccoli slaw for a new twist on a veggie noodle. One bag makes 2 generous servings.
3. Maximize Mushrooms. I look for discounted sliced or whole mushrooms to add to almost any dish. Or sauté and freeze for future use if the package is too large to use fresh.
4. Fill up on Frozen. My favorite convenience food is frozen vegetables – any type. I love that all the picking, cleaning, and cutting has been done for me. Just open the bag! I stock up on $1 a bag sales.
5. Cash-in on Canned Beans. Add a can of drained, rinsed canned beans to soups, salads, and casseroles. Rinsing reduces up to 30% of the sodium in canned beans. Big box stores often have cases at a low cost per can.
I add extra vegetables to frozen meals. It is an easy way to follow the DASH diet, which emphasizes larger portions of vegetables to lower blood pressure.
For example, add a couple cups of sautéed mushrooms and a bag of frozen broccoli to a favorite frozen dinner mix of chicken, vegetables, and seasoned noodles. The extra veggies increase the number of total servings with no extra sodium.
By adding more vegetables, I increase the total yield of the dinner mix and reduce the sodium per serving. In essence, I have “diluted” the sodium in the original dish with the extra vegetables. The extras increase the vitamins, minerals and fiber per serving – with bargain price produce!
The extra vegetables are an inexpensive way to increase the servings. Eating more vegetables along with other aspects of the DASH Diet can help lower blood pressure and keep health care costs low. More great ways to save money!
BTW, I use the similar approach with grains. “Dilute” the sodium of a boxed rice mix with cooked instant brown rice (no additional salt added). A mix that makes 2 cups with 600 mg sodium per serving becomes a whole grain rich food of 4 cups with around 300 mg sodium per serving. Add extra onion or garlic powder or other herbs to bump up the flavor.
Add extra veggies to almost any recipe or favorite frozen meal kit. Adding fresh or frozen veggies (processed without salt) will help dilute the sodium per serving of the meal kit by increasing number of servings. Drained and rinsed canned beans or veggies are other great additions with a little more sodium. All of these add-ins will increase the vitamins, minerals and fiber of the meal – winner, winner nutritious dinner!
Want to know more about taste and salt? Check out my salt taste activity and how to use a food label to make food choices that are right for you at the store.
Interested in more DASH Diet recipes? Check out DASH Diet: 5 ways to use Greek-style Yogurt, DASH Diet Recipe: Easy Avocado Beet Citrus Salad, Recipe for Glazed Beans, and How to Cook Zucchini – Easy Ideas.