Jun 7, 2011

Eating Healthy Affordably. Topic #1: Probiotics

I have a confession: I know I'm a dietitian and food is my business, but I don't like to spend a lot of money on it. Eating is expensive these days and unfortunately, it's often assumed that buying healthy food means spending more money. But take it from a gal who knows food and pinches pennies -- it doesn't have to cost more to eat healthy!

While there are money saving tips for all types of foods, today I want to focus on yogurt. Why? Well, recently I was asked about probiotics -- live microorganisms that help your digestive system and immune health -- and whether they are safe for kids to take. The short answer is YES! Probiotics are great for both kids and adults and the best natural source is yogurt. Assuming no lactose intolerance, children and adults can benefit from consuming one serving of yogurt per day for a healthy dose of probiotics.    

Not to complicate matters, but it has to be said: not all yogurts are created equal. Different yogurt brands offer different probiotics. For simplicity, always buy yogurt that has "live and active cultures" written on the label. That means you're getting at least some probiotics. However, if you want specific health benefits like improved immunity, try DanActive. If you want improved digestive health, try Activia. The probiotics found in these brands have been tested in scientific studies and found to have these health effects.

 Thanks to a local farm, today I had fresh picked 
strawberries and blackberries to eat with my yogurt.

Individually packaged servings of yogurt can be pricey, so buy the large container. I like to purchase the 32 oz size, which feeds my family (2 adults, 1 child) for the whole week to the tune of about 2 dollars. Pretty sweet. Whenever I want a quick, healthy on-the-go snack, I package the yogurt into single servings myself.

So enjoy the benefits of probiotics -- and possibly improved digestion and immunity -- without breaking your budget! For more detailed information on probiotics, click here

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