This is the second of a three part series on frugal cooking. Want more frugal cooking content? Sign up for our monthly newsletter for one highlighted frugal recipe a month!
Now that we’ve covered how to make what you eat palatable, let’s make sure that you also get everything that you need from what you eat. There are a few things that your body needs - essential amino acids (which form proteins), vitamins, minerals, and sugars that can be converted into fuel - and it is important to get these things in appropriate amounts. Please keep in mind that I am not a registered dietician, and please follow doctor orders over mine.
As listed above, there are different types of things the human body needs. The tricky thing is, most of us are used to thinking about food like this:
According to the traditional food pyramid, each food has one category and fills that need. In reality, that is simply not the case. Take, for example, the lowly bean (which technically doesn’t have its own spot on this chart). Typically classified as a legume, beans are often placed in the carb category at the bottom of the pyramid, yet the remain a high source of protein - which is several places up on the chart. In similar fashion, all dairy (and, for that matter, animal) products contain all 9 essential amino acids that make up the proteins that our bodies do not produce by themselves, meaning that 2 ounces of cheese (speaking strictly in terms of proteins) is equivalent to 2 ounces of steak, but in addition to being categorized as dairy, any ketogenic dieter will assert that dairy is fat and should be grouped with the oils. Belle peppers are high in sugar, but is considered healthy, while bread is high in sugar, and is (by and large) considered unhealthy.
The bottom line? Ignore the line, and know whether the food on your plate fits neatly into a single category (unlikely unless that food is kale) or fits into more categories. Have vegetables and/or fruits on your plate at every meal, one green and one colored (yes this includes breakfast) with your other foods spanning 1-4 other categories, and you will be fine in terms of the type of food you are consuming.
Quantity is a little trickier. You could spend hours making little charts to make sure you get everything perfectly proportioned, but I am lazy and instead follow these rules of thumb:
Look at the 10 meal plans you made from the first blog post in this series. Determine which ones meet nutritional requirements to be called a meal, and modify the ones that aren’t until they are.
Do you feel that you eat enough vegetables? If you don’t, how do you increase your vegetable intake?
I spend most of my spare time playing with spreadsheets, my violin, or planting vegetables in my garden in hopes of bringing new insights into frugal living. Please enjoy, and don't forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter here.
Disclaimer - Mrs. FB is not a financial advisor. Nothing in these articles should be construed as investment or other professional advice, but rather personal opinion. Some links in these posts may be to affiliate sites - no products are advertised through this site that have not been personally used by the FB family unless expressly labeled.