How Healthier Food Choices Can Help You Save in Health Care Costs! Plus, a recipe for Spring Strawberry Pie

June 21, 2018

News Flash….A recent study concluded that if Americans eat healthier we could save between $21 billion and $135 billion a year in health care costs!  That is an amazing number. The amount varies based on how many people actually change their eating habits, keeping in mind we are talking improving our choices, not deprivation.

Things like eating more fish, nuts, fruits and using olive oil are some suggestions when beginning to change your eating lifestyle. The study will be presented at the American Society for Nutrition in Boston.  “The study found that sticking to healthy eating habits by even 20% at a population level can save about $20 billion in both direct and indirect costs associated with 10 major health outcomes” according to Carolyn Scrafford, a senior managing scientist at Exponent, a scientific consulting firm.  

Guess for us Southerns, who like our foods fried or seasoned with lots of fat, we might want to make a few changes! Try to bake, broil, grill, stir-fry and season with olive oil when possible. Trying to find recipes that use less sugar than some of our traditional recipes will help with those small changes as well.  Try this recipe instead of a traditional Strawberry Pie.

Spring Strawberry Pie



  • 1 1/3 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  • 2 c strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tbsp  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 c small strawberries


  • 3 tbsp graham cracker crust
  • 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 c frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping (1 tbsp per slice…you can skip this and save a few calories)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, tossing with a fork until moist.  
  3. Press into bottom endue up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.  
  4. Prepare filling by combining strawberry slices and vinegar in a medium nonstick skillet.  
  5. Place berry mixture over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes, stir in occasionally.  Stir in 1/4 cup sugar.  
  6. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan, and bring to boil.  
  7. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in juice.  Cool completely.  
  8. Arrange whole strawberries in crust.  
  9. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over whole strawberries. Cover loosely and chill 4 hours.  
  10. To prepare topping, combine 3 tablespoons cracker crumbs, nuts, 1/12 teaspoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter in a small bowl.  
  11. Place crumb mixture in a small skillet over medium heat.  
  12. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown.  
  13. Cool and sprinkle crumb mixture over pie.

Calories: 229 calories, 8.8 grams fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 2.3 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrate, 176 mg sodium

Recipe from: Cooking Light Farm to Table


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.