The Secret Behind Supplements

After being diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, I started to take an Iron + Vitamin C supplement every day.  I also started to eat foods with a higher iron content more often. So, this makes me wonder:  how much do people spend on supplements compared to their grocery bill? According to the National Institutes of Health, $33.9 billion was spent on alternative medicine in the year 2008. That is more than what the National Football League (NFL) is worth! Also, more than half of Americans are popping multivitamin pills daily and about one-third are using some sort of alternative medicine (vitamins or herbs in a pill form).

Whether you choose to take dietary supplements or not, it is vital to eat foods packed with various vitamins and minerals, such as fruits and vegetables, every day.  Even though it may be possible to save money when buying a supplement to take place of food, this is not always the case.  Plus with food you get more than just the particular nutrient listed on the label.

So how much does the cost of a dietary supplement compare to a similar food?  Check out this table.  Prices are from central Iowa in June 2012.

Supplement Price per serving Nutritional value per serving Food item with comparable nutrients Price per serving Nutritional value per serving
Muscle Milk, Ready to Drink Chocolate Flavor $3.99 20g protein 3oz chicken breast $.60 25g protein
Nature Made Fish Oil 1000mg $.29 900mg Omega 3 ¼ cup of walnuts $.87 2,500mg of Omega 3
Benefiber Powder, Sugar Free, Orange Flavor + Calcium $.48 3g fiber 1 medium apple $.40 4.4g of fiber
Viactiv Milk Chocolate Soft Chews + Vitamin D $.20 1000mg calcium 8oz skim milk $.17 300mg of calcium

If you decide to buy a dietary supplement, you should do your research on the supplement first. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does NOT regulate dietary supplements. Visit the manufacturer’s website for product information or the FDA’s website for more information on dietary supplements: http://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/default.htm

                                                ~ Missy Anker, Dietetic Intern

Buy fish on sale this month…try these easy, healthy recipes!

Grocery stores recognize Lent by putting various kinds of fish on sale. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

I have been experimenting with cooking and grilling fish, trying to come up with something easy that has good flavor without adding breading and fat. I am trying to avoid the calories in breading, and I hate to pay the extra for someone else to add a little sauce.

Here’s a simple and tasty way to cook fish fillets:

  1. Turn on the oven; preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil (easy clean-up); lay the fillets in the pan.
  3. Drizzle with olive or canola oil, lemon or lime juice, salt/pepper or other seasonings of your choice.
  4. Bake about 20 minutes—the fish will flake when it is done. (It is okay to start with frozen fish, it just takes a little longer.)

Try our Pan Fried Tilapia with Orange Sauce or and or Tuna Melt Sandwiches.

-pointers by Peggy

Not Your Ordinary “Fish Story”

WOW, one of the grocery stores is advertising 17+ different fish deals in their ad this week…someone must be thinking Lent. To sort it all out, I converted the prices into price per pound and then put them in order from the least to the most expensive per pound.

 

My fish list told this story:

  • Buying in bulk saves money.
  • Breaded fish usually costs less—that’s because you are paying for breading and fat instead of fish.
  • If you want the convenience of someone packaging your fish into serving sizes, cooking it, or stuffing it  you pay more—sometimes a lot more!
  • Canned tuna is not the least expensive fish.

Most fish are low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of protein, which makes them a good choice for a healthy diet. Oil-rich fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines, are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to our diet and reduce the risk of heart attacks.

So what am I going to buy? I don’t need the extra calories and fat that comes with the breaded fish, but I can’t use 10 pounds of Pollock either. I will probably buy a couple of packages of the imitation crab meat which is Pollock that has been processed and flavored. I’ll use it to make a sandwich filling or add it to pasta salad. Since the shrimp price is good for that size shrimp, I’ll buy a pound to keep on hand for a super fast, no work appetizer. Although it is not advertised, I bet I can get a pound of Pollock for under $2.50/pound which I will bake in the oven with some seasonings and bread crumbs. I am going to keep looking for a good price for salmon.

-Pointers from Peggy

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