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Planning your meals in advance helps pinpoint the ingredients needed and makes shopping more efficient. (The Gazette)
Sticking to the budget is top of mind for many shoppers but can be challenging when planning family meals. With help from your Hy-Vee registered dietitian team, we hope to show you how shopping with health in mind does not have to break the bank. Skip the fast food and eat healthier to stick to your budget and health goals as a whole family.
Eating at home can be a healthier and less costly option when you follow these dietitian-approved tips:
MAKE MEAL PLANNING A PRIORITY
Planning meals in advance helps pinpoint the ingredients needed and makes shopping more efficient. Decide what you want to eat and buy just the ingredients called for in the recipes (after checking your pantry to make sure you don’t double up on ingredients you already have); that way you are not tempted to add in extra calories.
Explore healthy recipes at Hy-Vee.com/recipes. The searchable database has hundreds of recipes listed according to category (appetizer, main dish, one dish, dessert, etc.). You also can search under special dietary considerations such as vegan, vegetarian, low-carb and diabetes friendly.
Use Hy-Vee’s grocery delivery or pickup to stop impulse buys and stick to your grocery list. You can ensure you are getting just what you need and sticking to your budget.
SHOP IN SEASON
Fresh fruits and veggies that are in season often taste better and are a cost-effective way to get more plants into your diet. Enjoy these while they are readily available and then switch to frozen in their offseason or canned unsweetened fruit and no-salt-added canned vegetables. Canned and frozen options are nutritiously dense, budget-friendly and perfect for keeping your pantry/freezer stocked with better-for-you sides and snacks.
SHOP VALUE BRANDS
Stock your pantry with value brands, like Hy-Vee’s That’s Smart! brand, and save an average of 15 percent to 20 percent over national name brands. Using Hy-Vee’s Buying value brand for pantry staples, canned goods, frozen items dairy and snacks is a great way to cook with quality ingredients without spending a fortune.
FOCUS ON NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS
Stock up on foods that offer a nutritional punch without knocking out your budget. Eggs, oatmeal, beans, brown rice, non-fat Greek yogurt, whole-wheat bread and multigrain pasta are just some examples of inexpensive, nutrient-dense foods you can plan satisfying meals around.
Enjoy these That’s Smart! Chicken Enchiladas — a delicious, family-friendly dinner option that is easy on the wallet!
Nicole Johnson is a dietitian for Hy-Vee Stores.
That’s Smart! Chicken Enchiladas
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15.5 ounces) jar mild salsa
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (15 ounces) can no-salt-added black beans
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 fajita-size whole-wheat tortillas
1 (10 ounces) can red enchilada sauce
Desired toppings such as light sour cream or cilantro
Spray a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add chicken, salsa and cream cheese to slow cooker; sprinkle with chili powder. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred using two forks. Place chicken back in the slow cooker for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Add 1/3 cup shredded chicken filling to each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon shredded Cheddar cheese. Wrap tightly and place seam-side-down in prepared dish. Cover with red enchilada sauce and wrap tightly with foil. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through (165 degrees).
Tip: Make these enchiladas ahead of time and freeze until you’re ready to serve! Make enchiladas and place in prepared 9×13-inch baking pan. Cover with enchilada sauce and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through (165 degrees).
Serve topped with desired toppers such as sour cream, additional cheese and/or cilantro.