Healthy Recipes from WellLife
Access to healthy food is a cornerstone for wellness. According to Feeding American, 1 in 9 people struggle with food insecurity. Typically, food insecurity goes hand-in-hand with housing insecurity; many families are faced with the choice of either eating or losing their home. The US manufactures enough food to feed 10 billion people, the US alone has a population around 330 million, according the US Census. Some state laws mandate supermarkets to throw out their unbought food.
In addition, big chain supermarkets are known to throw away their food when they are one day past due regardless of if it the food is actually spoiled or not. In fact, each year 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US and nearly 40% of all food in the country is thrown out. While there are programs that help people with food insecurity, such as SNAP, better known as “food stamps,” or TEFAP or WIC, not everyone qualifies. There are also known food pantries, like FoodBank of NY, or churches that donate food to people with low income, however some of those places only donate monthly.
Understanding the basics of healthy cooking can making shopping much easier and help you stretch out that dollar. So, what makes up a “healthy meal”? A balance of protein, carbs, fiber, and fats. Making a healthy meal for under $20 that feeds a family of 4 may not seem like a challenge. However, with the incoming recession, inflation, price gouging, and food shortages, it is easy to see why people around the US are struggling. Another factor to consider is the cost of living for NYC, a loaf of bread could cost $4 in Queens and $8 in Manhattan. With all this in mind, I have set out to make a healthy meal for 4 for under $20 and teach you how you can do the same. The protein lies in the black beans and the beef, brown rice for complex carbs and tomatoes and kale for fiber. The 16oz pack of rice could 6 people if rationed correctly and you can even use half the can of beans.
What you will need:
$1.99- 1 bunch of kale
$1.42- 1 can of black beans (15.5 oz)
$1.29- 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
$4.44- Small pack of ground meat (I bought 0.89lb)
$1.59- 16 oz pack of brown rice (I got the brand GOYA, but you can get whichever you have access to)
*$1.50- If you are vegan/vegetarian you can replace the ground beef with a bell pepper
= $10.73 with ground meat
=$7.79 with bell pepper instead
=$12.23 with both
Prep the rice: Rinse the rice to clean away any excess starch. Grab a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. For most types of rice, you'll always use a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. First, bring the water to a boil. Then stir in rice and salt, you can also add some olive oil or butter. After adding the rice, the temperature of your water will drop, and it'll stop boiling. Let it come back to a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Keep the lid on. Check at 30 min. If there is still some water left, no worries, you can drain it out. Let the rice be your indicator, not the water. Turn off the heat, put the lid back on, and let it rest for a few minutes in the steamy saucepan. Use a fork to gently mix the rice to make sure that it doesn’t stick together.
Ground beef with kale, beans and tomatoes
Put the ground beef in low pot. You don’t need oil to cook it as ground beef usually cooks in its own fat. Add some salt, pepper, and any other season you would like.
Once the beef is brown and cooked, which usually takes around 5-6 minutes you can add the can of tomatoes and kale (chopped, no stems).
Check on it after 5 minutes. Make sure the kale is cooked to your liking as it doesn’t take much time to cook it.
Finally, open the can of beans, strain them, run them under cold water to wash off the canning residue and put them into your pot. Give it a good mix and leave for 3-4 minutes.
Turn it off and you are finished. Serve it over brown rice.