Don’t have the time, the money or the energy to shop for and eat healthy food? Relax. Dr. Oz has taken this chore off of your to-do list. To get you started zipping happily down the aisles, here are his biggest time and money savers in your four most popular categories: protein, produce, dairy and grains.
Timesaving Protein: Frozen Soy Burgers
With today’s busy schedules, many people find themselves relying on packaged foods. While many of these products are not great choices since they can be high in hidden salt, sugars and fats, frozen soy burgers are a quick and easy protein source, especially if you’re pressed for time. Soy protein and fiber may help lower cholesterol, so these items also serve as a great meat alternative. Just pop them in the microwave and serve on whole wheat buns. About $4 per box.
Money-saving Protein: Skinless Chicken Thighs
High-protein, flavor-packed skinless chicken thighs are a terrific bargain. Make them ahead of time on a Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. Poach in water to keep them juicy, then shred or chop up meat and use in your family’s favorite dishes. This is a great way to satisfy a household where everyone eats differently; the meat can be used in versatile ways to satisfy everyone – in tacos, wraps, salads and more. About $3 per pound.
Timesaving Produce: Frozen Vegetables in Steamer Bags
Do you end up throwing out rotting produce every week? Then stop overbuying fresh vegetables and stock up on frozen vegetables in steamer bags. First, they retain about 85% to 90% of the same nutritional value as their fresh counterparts. They’re blanched before frozen, which kills off bacteria so they wont spoil. Plus, they’re microwavable in about 5 minutes or less. About $2 a bag.
Money-saving Produce: Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are not only less pricey than fresh, but are an even better source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that becomes more effective when heated up during canning. Use canned tomatoes as a staple ingredient in sauces, soups, stews and chili. Also try replacing ketchup with another canned tomato product – tomato paste. It tastes similar and contains less sodium and sugar. Look for “no salt added” varieties of canned tomato products. About $1.50 per 28-ounce can.
3. Eggs and Dairy
Timesaving Dairy: Hard-boiled Eggs
Packed with protein, hard-boiled eggs are convenient, healthy breakfast items. And contrary to a persistent belief, they do not raise your cholesterol. Hard-boiled eggs can last up to one week, so try boiling a dozen on Sunday for a quick go-to breakfast choice. About $3 per carton.
Money-saving Dairy: 2% Organic Milk
While some folks may see this as a bit of a splurge, it’s worth it to buy high-quality organic milk. It’s free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that could be harmful to your family’s overall health. About $4 per half-gallon container.
Timesaving Grain: Microwavable Brown Rice
Microwavable brown rice cooks in about 90 seconds, so you don’t have to worry about time-consuming boiling. A whole grain, brown rice is full of antioxidants and fiber. About $2 per package.
Money-saving Grain: Puffed Brown Rice
Brand-name cereals cost a fortune at about $6 to $7 a box. Generic puffed brown rice is available in big bags for much less. It's also low in sodium and cholesterol. Eat puffed brown rice on its own or use as a breading or topping. For a delicious treat, make up a batch of healthy Puffed Brown Rice Treats. Click here for the recipe. $1.50 per bag.