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Dietitians Plan for Fall

We’re in the season when consumers see time as even more of a barrier. Fall is beginning of a new round of activities. Groups that suspended meetings over the summer start filling in the calendar with dates. And we are only at the gate for the coming season of holidays!

It’s a good time for the food and nutrition experts in the supermarket to help customers take control. Here are some thoughts to consider:

• It’s a time- and dollar-crunched economy and cooking at home saves money. This theme, and the nutrition control you can put into home-cooked meals, are major messages to convey to consumers. Safe use of a crock pot, grilling indoors (or how to use the broiler) are cooking options that are often overlooked, but they add versatility and variety.

• Comparing the cost of scratch and speed-scratch to the standard restaurant or fast food menu is always good. But factor in the time and gas costs and the nutrition differences. And for small families, buying the amount they need from a salad or prepared food bar at the supermarket may be a bargain compared to restaurant prices.

• Emphasize meal ideas that minimize time and dollars, but meet the “Under 30” minute guideline. Chicken breast halves with an orange juice glaze with instant brown rice, microwaved green beans and a salad go on the table fast.

• Put emphasis on quality, along with the time factor. The return on investment comes from starting with quality ingredients.

• Remember that taste and nutrition are reasons we eat! Organically grown and preservative-free foods are part of that ROI to factor into food decisions.

• Plan for grab-and-go foods. When it comes to good food habits, sitting down to eat meal is an important point. However, there are those times when it’s just not an option. Yet, consumers can keep cost and nutrition under control by planning ahead and crafting their own “takeout.” Wraps, smoothies, soups and travelling salads can be a healthy compromise, and best of all, the variables of time, money and nutrition are controlled as we drive by the drive-thrus!