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Test Your Healthy (But Cheap) Foods Knowledge

By Carla Lord
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Not all healthy food is expensive. Some of our most familiar food choices are also healthy, inexpensive choices that are nutrient dense or otherwise healthy.

  1. RiceTrue: Rice is a symbol of life and fertility. This is why rice is traditionally thrown after a wedding ceremony to wish the newlyweds prosperity with their progeny. In fact, according to the U.K.'s Rice Association, the Finns go so far as to count the number of rice grains that land in the bride's hair to "determine" the number of children the couple will have. Traditions aside, it's also important to note that rice is the main staple food for over 50 percent of the world's population.

  2. True: An individual banana is known as a "finger." The "bunch" of bananas that you and I get from our local grocer or farmers' market is also known as a "hand," comprising 10 to 20 "fingers." A source of potassium and vitamins B and C, we all know and love the fruit of the banana, but did you know that many other parts of the plant are also used? The banana flower is used in Southeast Asian cuisine; the Japanese have been using banana fibers for clothing and other household goods for hundreds of years; and the leaves are used for anything from wrapping food in a luau to building houses in some third-world areas.

  3. PopcornFalse: Popcorn was invented in the United States in the 1800s. Actually, the first evidence of popped corn was found in a cave in New Mexico . . . from over 5,000 years ago! The first popcorn machine was indeed unveiled in the U.S. in 1885 by Charles Cretors. One year later, the Rueckheim brothers introduced Cracker Jack to the world. But remember, popcorn is only as healthy as what's on it, so it's always a good idea to watch out for that butter, salt, cheese, caramel, etc.!

  4. False: It's impossible to tell the difference between a hard-boiled egg and a raw egg without cracking it open. By simply spinning the egg on an even surface, you can tell the difference: a hard-boiled egg will spin freely (because it's solid) while a raw egg will only spin a few times (due to its viscous innards). Eggs, an excellent source of protein, are extremely versatile. (How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: scrambled, pickled, deviled, and poached, to name a few.) Everything in moderation, of course, but if you're watching your cholesterol, use the egg white and discard the yolk.

  5. CarrotsTrue: Carrots are not always orange. Legend has it that the orange, or western, carrot has its origins in the Netherlands in the 15th or 16th century; it gets its color from the amount of carotenes in its particular subspecies and was popularized because of the then-current struggle for Dutch independence (under the House of Orange). Carrots, which are also a source of antioxidants (they fight free radicals and have been shown in studies to protect against cancer and heart disease), can be white, yellow, red, or even purple!
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