Enjoying beets in season

 

BeeBunched beets with greens attached.ts are a dark red root vegetable with an earthy, sweet flavor. They get their deep color from antioxidants, which may protect you from cancer and heart disease. Look for beets that are hard, with no soft spots. Sometimes beets still have the greens attached, which you can cook and eat just like other greens. The beets last for weeks loosely wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, although you should eat the greens within a day or two. When you’re ready to cook the beets, scrub them well and leave on an inch of greens to stop the juice from leaking. Be careful with the juice because it stains. To cook beets, you can wrap them in foil and bake them; peel, cut, and roast them; boil or steam them; or grate them and make a beet “pancake.” Beets are also great in salads, either raw or cooked! 

 

Packing your own lunch

A water bottle, apple, banana, and sandwich in a lunchbox.When you buy lunch, you pay not only for the food but also for the convenience and the effort to make the food. You can save money and eat healthier by packing your own lunch. First, figure out what options you have for carrying, storing, and reheating your lunch. Do you have a lunchbox? Is there a fridge and a microwave or toaster oven where you work? The answers to these questions will help you decide what kind of food you can pack. Try being creative with what you bring. For example, if you have a microwave or toaster oven then you can make a baked potato. If you want hot food but don’t have a microwave or toaster oven, you could bring it already heated in a thermos.  Or you might buy part of your lunch and bring the rest. Save money, eat better, and add variety to your lunch by packing your own!

Using insulated shopping bags

Three blue plastic ice-packs.Have you ever seen reusable, insulated shopping bags at the grocery store? They help keep cold foods cold, which prevents the foods from going bad too soon. These bags are a great investment, especially if it takes you a long time to get home from the store. If you avoid buying cold foods because you can’t keep them cold on the way home, then these bags will give you more food options. The bags work especially well if you bring ice packs or buy frozen food at the store. Some stores will even give you a discount every time you use the bag. They’re easy to clean, and you should clean them often if you use them for meat. Save money and keep foods safe by keeping your cold foods cold!

Planning for events

A woman with her hands on her head in exasperation and stress amidst chopping vegetables.Hosting events can be stressful and expensive, but a little planning can make this task easier. One of the most important things you can do is find out how many people will be coming. This tells you how much food to make and will keep you from buying food that you won’t need. You can also watch for sales and buy ingredients early (as long as they won’t spoil). Another way to save time and money is to ask guests to bring something. It can be a dish they cook at home or something simple they buy at the store. Guests are usually happy to contribute and it’s shopping or cooking that you won’t have to do. Save stress, time, and money by planning ahead!

Enjoying greens in season

Close-up of fresh curly kale.Leafy green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, collard greens, and kale will be showing up at farmers’ markets this month. These vegetables have lots of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many other vitamins and minerals. There are a huge variety of greens, each with their own flavor. Avoid wilted or discolored leaves when shopping. How you use these greens depends on the type. Some are good for salads, some are best in soups, while others are good for sautéing. “Baby” greens, like baby spinach, are young and tender, making them better for salads. Ask your grocer or the farmer how to best prepare the greens they sell, and soon you’ll be enjoying the great taste and nutrition of greens!