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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Making Healthy Meals from Products at Local Tiendas

Where I live there are several tiendas nearby, small mom and pop affairs, commercially-owned deli-types and corporate-chain convenience stores.

When you first walk into any tienda, you get the sense the most popular items are chips, candy and soda.

But, tiendas offer a wider range of products, too.

Below are some pictures from various local tiendas. Not all tiendas offer the same number or types of products.














What I did not get a picture of is the fresh fruits and vegetables. Often you can get bananas, apples, potatoes, onions, squash, chayote, limes, garlic and the choices may change.

So, can I make healthy meals from products from a tienda?

You can find condiments like mayo, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and some spices and hot sauces, various deli meats, canned tuna and canned sardines, salsas, canned beans or dried beans.

Refrigerated products might include: orange juice, a few cheeses and yogurts, lunch meat and other items. Plus, there may be a deli where you can get a variety of sliced meats and cheeses.

Because they offer white rice, spaghetti and pasta, I can make several dishes. With tomato sauce or salsa, onions, garlic and canned vegetables, I can make a sauce and toppings for spaghetti, or make fried rice, or a casserole.

With potatoes, I can make baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, or with milk and cheese, a potato casserole. Toppings can be tomato sauce, mixed vegetables or canned beans.

Some tiendas have packaged cereal and some also have raw oatmeal and raisins, so with fresh or canned fruits, yogurt or milk, I can make several breakfast cereal meals and desserts.

Some tiendas have eggs, milk, creme, flour, sugar and baking powder, so that expands the choices for making several dishes, like pancakes, fritters, homemade ice cream, biscuits, and more.

You can find canned pineapple and often canned peaches, if you can't find fresh fruit which you can add to many recipes.

With bread or tortillas, along with other ingredients like eggs and milk, mayo and tuna, lunch meat, or pineapple chunks, I can make french toast, tacos and wraps, or sandwiches, and bread pudding.

While you can often find bags of dry beans, so far, I have only been successful using dry lentils, not the other types of dried beans. But, I can make a lentil salad..

You can make healthy meals using products from tiendas.

The positives are convenience, which can mean a lot if you don't have a car, and a sense of community. You are more likely to meet your neighbors at a local tienda.

The negatives are the items usually cost a little more and selections are limited. But, from another perspective, going to the local tienda can cost less because you can carry items home rather than use a cab and more tiendas means more jobs.

I am still trying to do budget comparisons, can I save money by shopping at tiendas? No answer yet, because I do go back to the bigger grocery stores for items I can't get at tiendas.

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