Event Catering: High quality food doesn't necessarily come with a high price tag

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(ARA) - In the current economic climate, budgets are tight and families are trying to make every penny count. A recent survey by the Midwest Dairy Council revealed that "more than half of consumers say price, not nutrition, is the most important factor when grocery shopping in this economic climate."

It's important for your family's health - and your pocketbook - to know that it is possible to buy nutritious foods and still keep costs low. While some cheaper foods have a low price tag in the short-term, their low nutrition levels can cost your family in the long run.

Good health comes from a balanced diet, but you don't need to spend a fortune to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The U.S.
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Department of Agriculture (USDA) food pyramid has changed over the years, but its central focus remains on natural foods. Fruits and vegetables top the list of what you need to eat to stay healthy, but many people have the misperception that these foods are the hardest to afford.

In honor of March being National Frozen Food Month, everyone should be aware that high quality food doesn't have to break the bank. Pre-packed frozen fruits, like those from Dole, retain their nutritional value because they're picked and frozen at the height of freshness, so they offer a solution to incorporating healthier foods into your family's diet. And in the winter, when fresh fruit can be more expensive and harder to find, all of your favorites are readily available at a great value.

Worries about wasting fresh produce are particularly strong because unprepared fruits and vegetables don't have a long shelf life. However, a trip to the freezer aisle can eliminate that problem. It's a simple step, but one that can save time and money - buy frozen fruits and vegetables. The costs are lower than buying from the produce department and there's no worry that the products will go bad.

It's not necessary to spend a fortune on feeding your family well, but it is necessary for them to get proper nutrition. Simple solutions like buying frozen fruit, such as Dole frozen fruit, allow families to keep budgets in check without sacrificing health.

This recipe from Dole is a great way to incorporate nutritious blueberries into a tasty treat that appeals to kids and adults alike.

Blueberry cinnamon muffins

Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup Dole Pineapple Juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup Dole frozen blueberries, partially thawed and drained

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pineapple juice, orange peel and vanilla extract.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Stir into juice mixture with blueberries just until moistened.

Spoon batter into (1/2 cup) muffin cups coated with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 to 18 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack; serve warm.

Tips: Replace egg with 1/4 cup egg substitute and up to 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, if desired.

Per Serving: 165 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 18mg cholesterol, 186mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 12g sugars), 3g protein, 4 percent vitamin A, 8 percent vitamin C, 3.

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