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Budgeting For Better, Healthier Meals

By Ashley Watson

Budgeting for meals can be easier than you think if you remember that saving money will also encourage healthier eating habits. You already know that whole foods are more healthful than processed foods, but did you realize they were cheaper, as well?

Here are some tips to remember when creating your grocery budget and shopping lists:

Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals for the week may feel a little too ambitious, but it will save time and money in the end. Think about how long it takes to decide what you want to eat after a long day at work when you are already tired and hungry. You don’t have to sit down and write a detailed menu for every night of the week, but it’s a good idea to have a general sense of which meals you want to prepare.

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Summer Produce: What’s Up with Herbs?

With farmer’s markets across the country in full swing, you might be wondering how in the world you’re going to navigate the overflowing stands of fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.

With more leafy greens than you can count and basil plants that seem to be bursting at the seams, how does a produce novice manage to take home fruits and veggies that will make it to your table and into your meals and snacks?

This week, we’re taking you through some of the herbs – popular and obscure – that you might encounter at your farmer’s market. Because fresh herbs sold at outdoor or indoor local markets are typically fresh and free of preservatives, you’ll need to use them pretty quickly.

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Minneapolis Named Healthiest City in the U.S.

For those of you who may use the weather as an excuse for not exercising, look no further than the citizens of Minneapolis, Minnesota. That’s because they have been voted the healthiest city in the U.S. by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Each year, the ACSM rates the top 50 healthiest metropolitan areas in the country. They attributed Minneapolis’ jump to the top of the list to the increase in size and a decrease in smoking rates. Also factored into the equation was relatively low rates of obesity, heart disease, and asthma.

Additional factors were treated to the increase in healthfulness of the citizens of Minneapolis: an uptick in farmers markets and an above average percentage of park land. I think that would help explain why Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado both made the top five, as they are known for their love of outdoor living and activities. Washington D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts were number two and number three, respectively.
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Jake Gyllenhaal Loves the Farmer’s Market

Jake GyllenhallWe love hearing about celebrities who eat sensible, healthy diets, and we love it even more when we find out that they prepare these meals for themselves. Not only did Jake Gyllenhaal recently discuss his love of cooking, he also revealed that he’s a patron of local foods.

“I’ve always loved cooking, probably because my father and mother always cooked,” he said. Gyllenhaal also collects old cookbooks, to inspire new dishes. “I have a massive section in my library at home of beautiful old cook books. I really have a strange obsession with them.”

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Eat in-Season Produce Year-Round for Optimal Health

My ultimate favorite time of year to eat produce is in the summer. There are all of those fresh berries, watermelon, corn — it’s delicious! Not to mention that I have the best memories of being a kid picking fresh tomatoes straight from the garden and eating them with just a sprinkle of salt. For a number of years I believed that — at least where I live in the Midwest — you could only eat fresh fruits and veggies during the warmer months, but boy was I wrong. Over the last few years I’ve really gotten into gardening and learning more about where our foods come from and the benefits of eating fresh, local produce. And what I’ve learned is amazing! You can truly eat in-season all year round if you know what to buy — and be healthier because of it. Here’s why!

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