What’s the secret to eating healthy on a budget? Try storing fruits and veggies properly

Mar 31, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 1:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s national nutrition month and adding more fruits and veggies to your diet can lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease, and prevent some types of cancer. With inflation rising, no one wants to waste food.

Eating tasty, nutrient-rich meals on a budget is possible, said Alex Govern, executive chef with Intermountain Healthcare.

“This spaghetti squash this morning was on sale. It was a dollar off per pound,” Govern said. He recommends first, choosing fruits and veggies that are in season, and on sale, like spaghetti squash. “That’s enough to feed three to four people as a side and it was under three bucks.”

He also recommended other seasonal fruit: “Lots of fresh berries will be more cost-effective, green beans.”

Try fresh substitutions if produce looks wilted or spoiled, Govern said. “Let’s say I go to buy green beans and they don’t look good. What else looks good? Sugar snap peas might look good, that’s a great substitution,” he said. Or, choose frozen veggies and fruit instead. “They’re picked at their peak of ripeness, they’re sweet and they’re ready to go,” he said. But be sure to check the label to make sure they have no added ingredients. “It just says, ‘Green beans.'”

As fruit or veggies decay, Govern advised discarding moldy or spoiled pieces. “This cauliflower head, if I put it in the fridge, it could hang out in there for at least a week,” Govern said. “As it starts to go bad, these dark spots will develop first and I can just trim them away. And the rest of it’s still great to eat.”

Squash can last even longer, according to Govern. “It lasts for a couple weeks on the shelf, not even in the refrigerator, room temperature,” he said.

Wash and dry berries completely, and refrigerate in airtight containers like plastic bags or mason jars to make them last much longer. When berries begin to spoil, freeze them. “We can put it in smoothies or in desserts,” Govern said.

Finally, make vegetables the main course, instead of a side, like Govern’s cauliflower tacos. He said meat is more expensive and less nutrient-rich. “This is what we lovingly refer to as a cauliflower steak,” he said. “This has garlic, chili powder, salt, and pepper, and about 18 minutes in the oven and it’s good to go.” The result is a savory, satisfying dish and you don’t miss the taco meat.

It also gets more vitamins in your belly and more change in your pocketbook.

Recipe for Cauliflower tacos, Chef Alex Govern, Intermountain Healthcare

Serves 4 people

Serving Size – 3 tacos


  • Cauliflower – 1-2 Large Heads, or 3lb bagged fresh florets
  • Taco Seasoning – 3 Tbs (any brand preferred by taste)
  • Vegetable Oil – ¼ Cup
  • Cilantro – 1 bunch– Minced or chopped very fine
  • Green Onion – 1 Bunch – Thinly sliced
  • Corn Tortillas – 12ea
  • Sour Cream – ¼ C
  • Pan Spray – As Needed


  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Trim the bottom of the cauliflower, and blemishes from the head
  • Cut the cauliflower head in half
  • Cutting from the exposed center, trim the cauliflower pieces from the center stalk, discard the center stalk
  • Roughly chop the larger cauliflower pieces into bite-size pieces or florets
  • Toss the trimmed florets with the seasoning and the oil
  • Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil and seasoning (add more if desired)
  • Place the seasoned florets onto parchment or foil-lined sheet trays; ensure there is minimal overlap
  • Bake at 425F for 18-20 min or until browned and tender
  • While the cauliflower is baking, heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat – spray with pan spray and sear the tortilla on both sides, lightly browning
  • Reserve till the cauliflower has finished cooking.

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What’s the secret to eating healthy on a budget? Try storing fruits and veggies properly