July 21, 2008

Make Delicious, Nutritious, Easy and Affordable Meals? Yes, You Can


Contact: Matt Windsor, +1-202-457-8100, [email protected], or Stephenie Fu, +1-202-457-8100, [email protected], both for Tomato Products Wellness Council

A closer look the grocery store yields a new appreciation for cost- and nutrition-conscious options

APTOS, Calif., July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/--While some health experts traditionally recommend shopping the grocery store perimeter for nutritious options like fresh produce, the center of the store may warrant a closer look, given rising food costs. Many options there not only are nutritious and taste great, they also can be more cost-conscious and have a conveniently longer shelf life. Families can stock up on healthy and affordable staples like whole grain rice and pasta and a variety of beans, for example. Tomato products like pasta sauces, canned tomatoes, salsa and tomato paste and juice also are versatile, inexpensive and nutritious staples to keep on hand to make quick, wholesome meals, says the Tomato Products Wellness Council (tomatowellness.com).

In addition to being a vegetable that even the pickiest of eaters like, tomato products are good partners with other healthy foods because they offer great flavor and texture. Right after being picked from the vine at peak ripeness, tomatoes that become shelf- stable products are cooked and sealed in containers. This guarantees their full sun-ripened flavor and safety from salmonella and other food-borne pathogens -- plus the heating process provides an enhanced value of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight disease. Tomato products also offer important nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. Clinical trials show heart-health and other benefits of consuming tomato products.

To beat the summer heat and rising food costs, TPWC offers four easy recipes -- two quick, no-cook summer ideas and two year-round family favorites -- that pair nutrient-dense tomato products with other nutritious staples. If sodium is a concern, use low- or reduced-sodium products. Each recipe has just three easy steps and costs only about $1.00 per serving.

-- Penny-pinching Gazpachocombines tomato juice and diced canned tomatoes with fresh, in-season vegetables in a summer favorite that costs only $0.97 and has just 132 calories per serving.

-- Shirley Temple Sangrita, traditionally a tomato-based chaser to tequila in Mexico, is a refreshing beverage all by itself. It has layers of flavors at just 92 calories and $0.47 per serving.

-- Recession-proof Spaghetticombines spaghetti sauce, whole grain pasta and carrots, and is less that 500 calories and $1.25 per serving. And, it is high in fiber and vitamin A.

-- Cost-conscious Chili Con Carnimakes two meals for a family of four at just $0.95 and 308 calories a serving. It combines tomato paste with beans, ground turkey and onions for a winning taste that also provides lots of fiber.

For these recipes and more information, visit tomatowellness.com.

About Tomato Products Wellness Council (TPWC)

TPWC funds scientific research on tomato products and their link to helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Its members are tomato growers, processors and product manufacturers.

SOURCE Tomato Products Wellness Council

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