Cost, Nutrition And Convenience: Raising The Bar On ‘Value’ Meals
(NAPSA) – A burger and fries for under $5? This is one type of value meal featured at fast-food drive-thrus. Sure, saving money makes us feel good about the foods we purchase, but value means much more than low cost.
If you’re looking to get the most value from your meal, remember three things: cost, nutrition and convenience. These are key elements that, combined, create a valuable meal you can feel good about.
So how do you prepare a meal that is budget friendly, convenient and nutritious? The secret is knowing how to get the most out of your foods and your wallet without making your taste buds and bank account suffer. And it’s easier than you may think.
Following are a few low-cost ways to get the most from your meal without cutting corners on taste and nutrition:
- Turn one nutritious meal into two. Transform leftovers into flavorful lunchtime delights. Wrapped in a flour tortilla, the remaining meats and veggies from a classic stir-fry make delicious fajitas or stuffed quesadillas. Sprinkle with cheese for added calcium or top with a few more greens, such as peppers or spinach, for an extra boost of essential nutrients.
- Eat fresh. Shop local. Check out your local farmers’ markets for fresh produce. Farmers’ markets provide a large selection of the freshest produce and generally have low prices because farmers are able to set their own prices-allowing you to get more for your money.
- Plan ahead. Prepare a variety of pasta noodles-macaroni, fettuccine, spaghetti and rigatoni-and store in plastic containers to be used later in the week. Showcase noodles in a pasta bar format with a variety of mix-ins, such as lean ground beef or turkey, tuna fish, chicken, asparagus or zucchini. Top these with marinara, melted cheese or a dash of Parmesan and you can have a delicious meal in less than 20 minutes.
- Power up with pumpkin. Keep an extra can of pure pumpkin in the pantry for a quick and easy way to boost nutrition. Pumpkin can be added to homemade chili, pasta sauce and even mashed potatoes. The added pumpkin in this Easy Pumpkin-Pasta Bake recipe provides an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. And at 10 servings, this family-style dish can be prepared for under $1.40 per serving-perfect for a potluck or weeknight dinner.