SUPERMARKET SMARTS CAN HELP CONSUMERS SAVE DURING LEAN TIMES
Ohio livestock farmers help families maximize the food dollar through buying and cooking tips
COLUMBUS -- Rising food prices, the uncertainty of future economic conditions and tightening wallets are forcing many Ohio consumers to re-evaluate their food buying habits. A recent study conducted by ConAgra Foods reveals that 44 percent of Americans want to spend less money on food compared to 2008. In addition, in the past year, 25 percent more American workers are taking their lunches to work to save money.
"When food budgets tighten, saving money at the grocery store is especially important," said Sandy Kuhn, executive director, Ohio Livestock Coalition, which represents the state's livestock farmers. "Ohio livestock farmers have the solution and are offering tips on purchasing high-protein, affordable foods that can be stretched for more than one meal." Ohio farmers are serving up a variety of terrific, high-protein, low-cost foods perfect for shopping while managing a household's bottom line. From beef to pork, from dairy to poultry and eggs, Ohioans can be confident that the food they purchase is safe and wholesome, and also can help balance the mealtime budget.
Divide a whole pork loin and save
The Ohio Pork Producers Council advises consumers to purchase a whole pork loin to save on the overall cost per serving, while providing a number of different meal options. Pork loin can be divided into four different cuts of meat -- pork roast, pork chops, strips and cubes -- to be featured in recipes specially developed to use these cuts. In addition, many of these cuts can be re-tooled as leftovers for a lunchtime meal option or can be safely frozen for up to six months with no loss of quality or taste, allowing families to stretch their meals even further.
New beef cuts offer high-flavor, low-cost
Two beef cuts -- the Flat Iron and the Petite Tender -- offer consumers a high-flavor meal without the expensive price tag. These newly-introduced cuts are affordable, juicy and tender, and are ideal for grilling year-round. The Ohio Beef Council says that these value cuts are available in most Ohio grocery stores. In addition, 29 cuts of beef meet current government guidelines for "lean", and beef is a naturally nutrient-rich source of nine essential nutrients. The protein in beef plays an important role in maintaining healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity.
Eggs and poultry offer high-protein meals
Eggs are often referred to as "the perfect food" because they have only 75 calories, yet are a source of high-quality protein. They also provide 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D -- an essential aid in absorbing calcium needed for bone strength. And, at a cost of just a few cents each, eggs are one of the most affordable sources of protein, according to the Ohio Poultry Association.
Save time and money by cooking a whole turkey or chicken. Both are affordable sources of lean protein -- and are terrific starts for creating several follow-up meals. From something as simple as a brown-bag lunch sandwich, to a more filling main dish like a turkey casserole or chicken tetrazzini, cooking a chicken or turkey once and then enjoying the leftovers for multiple meals is an ideal way to stretch the budget.
Dairy provides nine essential nutrients to keep bones strong, bodies healthy
Dairy products offer one of the best values in the supermarket. Penny for penny, no other food offers as much nutritional value for Ohio's families as milk. Additionally, milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein and are quick, portable and easy options to include in lunchtime meals. Dairy products contain a powerful package of nine essential nutrients — including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins D, A, B12, riboflavin and niacin — that help keep bones strong and bodies healthy. The American Dairy Association Mideast reports that nutrient-rich dairy foods are a core part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products everyday.
Lamb leg offers versatility and affordability
A flavorful leg of Ohio lamb is an excellent mealtime solution for today's hectic lifestyles and provides the bonus of leftovers for future meals. The leg is a versatile cut that includes affordable and easy-to-cook cuts, such as sirloin chops for grilling, shanks for slow-cooking, and roasts for the oven. Additionally, consumers can ask the butcher to trim off the top round, which can be cubed and saved to make kebobs. The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association also recommends that shoppers try inexpensive and delicious cuts, such as the lamb loin chop, blade chop and Denver ribs.
For more information about Ohio's livestock farmers, and their role in providing Ohioans with safe, wholesome, affordable food, please visit the Ohio Livestock Coalition's Web site at www.ohiolivestock.org. Links to the individual sites of livestock groups also are available there.
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For interviews, photo opportunities and recipes, please contact Hinda Mitchell or Diane Hurd at (614) 224-0600