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Feed Your Family Better and Cheaper!
By Dan DeFigio   View more articles by this author
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September 29

The USDA reports that food prices rose more over the last two years than they have in almost 20 years. Many people are looking for less expensive ways to feed their families. Sure, a fast-food hamburger or a box of prepared Mystery Helper is an inexpensive way to put calories into your family's stomach. But how much actual nutrition are you delivering?

Here are six of my favorite inexpensive Superfoods to help your family get the most benefit from your food dollars:

Almonds are rich in vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fat. They are also good sources of magnesium, manganese, and calcium. A one-ounce handful (about 24 whole almonds) has six grams of protein, and costs less than 40 cents.

Beans are excellent sources of fiber, protein, and B-vitamins. Dark beans (kidney beans, black beans, etc) also have cancer-fighting antioxidants.  A half-cup serving (cooked or canned) costs about 35 cents. You can rinse off canned beans before cooking to reduce the sodium content.

Oatmeal is high in iron and fiber, which reliably helps lower cholesterol. Nothing warms up a cold morning like a warm bowl of oatmeal (you should use the uncooked oats, like Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, not instant oatmeal or one-minute oats). Costco sells a nine-pound box of whole-grain oats for $7.32 -- about 7 cents per serving!

Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, selenium, and lots of cancer-fighting compounds called glycosaccharides. A 3-ounce portabella mushroom cap provides more potassium than a banana or an orange. Mushrooms can be used as a meat substitute too. A half-cup costs 25-50 cents, depending on which kind you buy.

Eggs are superior sources of protein, B-12, choline (for brain function), and eye-protecting carotenoids. I like to promote cage-free, hormone-and-antibiotic-free farming techniques because:

1.    Eggs farmed this way have higher nutrient content.
2.    It's better for the chickens.
3.    Organic farming techniques do not cause antibiotic resistance like mass-production techniques.

High-quality eggs cost 17-25 cents each. Mass-produced, hormone-and-antibiotic-filled eggs cost about 15 cents each.

Red Grapes make an excellent dessert. Loaded with antioxidants and vitamin K, grapes come in many types and colors. In general, the darker the color, the higher the nutrient content. A one-ounce handful of red grapes (on sale at Kroger this week) costs 11 cents.

Another easy way to incorporate inexpensive quality nutrition into your routine is to prepare a raw vegetable plate for snacking during TV time. A family can snack on broccoli, celery, carrots, and cherry tomatoes for less than a dollar per person. And raw veggies beat the pants off popcorn or pretzels for nutrition per calorie!

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