January 2, 2009

Low cost, but good nutrition possible

As the economy continues to struggle, a U.S. doctor says parents can still provide healthy food options on a budget.

Dr. Rober Murray of the Center for Healthy Weight at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus says nutrient-dense foods -- such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- are often more costly than less healthful options, but there are ways to save without compromising on nutrition.

He suggests to:

-- Don't assume fresh is best. In recent years preservation and freezing methods have improved, thus preserving the nutritional quality of the frozen fruits and vegetables.

-- Exotic and often heavily-marketed fruits -- like pomegranate and acai berries -- rich in antioxidants and vitamins, come with a hefty price tag. Many of the same benefits can be found in other more common fruits like blueberries, plums or blackberries.

-- Be wary of drinks that are fortified with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants; they cost more have more calories -- sometimes as many calories as a regular soda -- and it's better to eat nutrients from food.

-- Buy snack foods in bulk and combine whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese in plastic storage bags, or peel and cut carrots into snack-sized pieces and place in containers with a couple tablespoons of peanut butter.