We are really good at convincing ourselves of this as we wait in the fast food drive-through for a "value meal" - never mind the expensive health care ramifications down the road with diabetes, high cholesterol and other medications.
Moreover, the fact is eating healthy does NOT have to be more expensive at the cash register. (Just check out the graphic at left, courtesy Cindy Ruccolo Fitness)
Florida's own state chef (yes, we have one and are the only state with such an awesome post!) proved as much in a recent initiative aimed at helping low-income Florida families shop and eat healthier.
The challenge for state chef Justin Timineri was as follows:
- Spend no more than $140.
- Buy little to no processed foods.
- All grains must be whole wheat.
- Sugars and salt must be kept to a minimum.
- Follow the USDA nutritional guidelines for recommended servings per day.
- Have enough food for breakfast, lunch, a light snack and dinner for seven days.
He succeeded with flying colors, coming up with a meal plan that included 3 meals a day and snacks, with delicious items like "Cheddar Scramble with Home Fries and Fresh Fruit," Zucchini Cakes with Spiced Yogurt" and "Oven Roasted Chicken with Greek Style Green Beans."
Timineri, together with the Florida Department of Agriculture and under the leadership of state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, is on a mission to make Floridians' nutrition better.
And why not, in a state rooted in the agriculture economy, where we are blessed with amazing fresh home-grown fruits and vegetables? Of all the government happenings right now, this is one I fully and completely endorse, applaud and am happy to share. With all due respect: Timineri and Commissioner Putnam are Badass. :)
Putnam and his team now are in charge of school nutrition, and are committed to addressing the growing problem of child obesity - one lunch tray at a time. Yes, it might seem small compared to issues like a budget deficit or crime rates, but here's the deal: Eating better, feeling and stay active DOES improve the quality of life for all of us here in the Sunshine State. And most important: Chef Justin's initiative proved that this quality can be accessible to all income levels. Amen and Hoo-rah!
Chef Justin will be here at Moore Consulting Group next week as part of the wellness program I coordinate to show us how to use fruit and vegetables for a sushi-licious meal. Stay tuned for some of his tasty ideas!
In the meantime, as you go shopping this weekend for next week's eats, I challenge you to print out Chef Justin's shopping list and menu and use it to guide you through the aisles (staying more on the perimeter, of course, where most of the "real" food is.)
Coming next week: A training plan for a Summer Mountain Hike trip, and 200 pushups in 10 minutes!
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