No Need To Forego Nutrition In Tight Economic Times

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
No Need To Forego Nutrition In Tight Economic Times
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Consumer research just released by consulting firm Booz & Company confirmed that U.S. consumers have cut back spending significantly over the past six months and that more than one third of consumers have made measurable cutbacks in frequent purchases, such as dining out. That means more home-cooked meals and the opportunity to prepare healthier food. Contrary to popular belief, fresh produce doesn't have to break the food budget, particularly if you count on potatoes.

Potatoes, a mainstay of traditional diets for centuries, contain essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and antioxidants and are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol free. Even better, one serving -- a medium (5.3 ounce) potato will only set you back about 25 cents. Pound for pound, potatoes are still one of the least expensive items in the produce department.

It's easy to keep this vegetable as healthy as it was when it was pulled from the ground. Just keep food "partner" ingredients nutritious, too. Top a baked potato with jarred salsa, low-fat cheese, or shredded rotisserie chicken. Or, top a mound of mashed potatoes prepared with nonfat chicken broth with ratatouille or another mixture of sauteed seasonal vegetables. Add olive-oil and garlic roasted potatoes to a green salad to make it more satisfying.

In the meantime, start eating better on a budget today. Try the United States Potato Board's Pennywise Potato-Turkey Wraps. This self-contained dinner sandwich is full of vegetables and can be made for approximately $1.84 per serving. It was designed to include an ingredient from each of the sections of the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid and can be whipped up using ingredients that most people have on hand.

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Pennywise Potato-Turkey Wraps

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
3/4 pound (12 ounces) potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 pound (12 ounces) ground lean turkey
1 large carrot, shredded
1/3 cup sliced green onions with tops
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning or basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large (9 to 10-inch) whole wheat or high fiber tortillas
Light sour cream (optional)

Place potatoes in microwave-safe bowl; sprinkle with water. Cover, venting one corner. Microwave on HIGH 5 to 8 minutes just until potatoes are tender. (Time will depend on wattage of your oven.) Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add and break up turkey; cook 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Mix in carrot; cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and onions; cook and toss 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; mix in tomato sauce, cheese, and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, four to five minutes until mixture is hot and most of sauce is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. On work surface, lay out tortillas. Place 3/4 cup hot turkey mixture on each; fold and roll up as for burritos. Cut in halves and place on serving plates. Accompany with sour cream, if desired

Makes four main-dish servings

Nutrition information per serving: 385 calories; 78 calories from fat; 9 g fat; 37 mg cholesterol; 723 mg sodium; 44 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 33 g protein; 640 mg potassium; 1822 mg vitamin A (IU); 12 mg vitamin C.

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