You're undoubtedly aware that a diet rich in nutritious whole foods is fundamental to staying healthy and happy. But if you have to work within the confines of a limited food budget, you may find it difficult to make smart selections for meals and snacks. Unfortunately, the most affordable groceries are often the most heavily processed, least healthy options. But numerous nutrient-dense foods are readily available at low prices year-round. Below are 10 such foods you can buy in significant quantities for little money and incorporate into all sorts of dishes.
Cheap and Healthy Food #1: Eggs
These humble ovals pack a serious nutritional punch. Low-calorie eggs provide high-quality complete protein and most essential vitamins and minerals. They're also a good source of carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein. Best of all, you can stock up on an 18-pack for less than $4.
Cheap and Healthy Food #2: Bananas
Fresh fruit can be a pricey purchase, but at around 60 cents per pound, a bunch of bananas is an exception. They're rich in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, biotin, manganese, dietary fiber, and other nutrients.
Cheap and Healthy Food #3: Potatoes
These tasty tubers are famed for their potassium content. They also supply several B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, and more. Buy Russets or other varieties in bulk for an average of three for $1.
Cheap and Healthy Food #4: An Entire Chicken
It's convenient to purchase chicken breasts or other parts, but you pay a premium for that convenience. Spend about half as much per pound by buying whole as compared to boneless, skinless breasts. Chicken is high in protein and low in saturated fat, and an entire bird feeds the whole family.
Cheap and Healthy Food #5: Broccoli
This cruciferous vegetable's impressive nutrient list and disease-fighting properties can be had for about $1.50 per pound. Broccoli packs plenty of dietary fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, chromium, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and lots of other nutrients.
Cheap and Healthy Food #6: Whole Grain Pasta
Pastas made from refined flour are stripped of nutritional value and cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Instead, get dietary fiber, B-complex vitamins, and more by opting for pastas made from whole grains, such as whole wheat or quinoa. A box is an affordable buy at around $2.
Cheap and Healthy Food #7: Beans
Countless varieties of beans are available canned or dried and in bulk for as little as 10 to 15 cents per serving. These legumes are rich in protein, providing a low-fat alternative to meats. They're a great source of B-complex vitamins, potassium, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, and additional essential nutrients.
Cheap and Healthy Food #8: Oats
Buy whole grain oats in bulk for as low as 15 cents per serving, which is a much better deal than a box of sugary breakfast cereal loaded with artificial ingredients. Oats offer B-complex vitamins and a heaping serving of dietary fiber to promote healthy digestive and cardiovascular systems.
Cheap and Healthy Food #9: Brown Rice
Brown rice is another smart whole grain purchase, available at about the same cost per serving as oats. This alternative to refined white rice is far more satisfying without the rapid rise and fall of blood glucose levels. It too is full of dietary fiber, B-complex vitamins, and more good stuff.
Cheap and Healthy Food #10: Canned Fish
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week for lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Buying canned chunk light tuna (the cheaper, lower-mercury variety) and salmon lets you enjoy the benefits of fish for less than $1 per serving.
www.webmd.com/diet/features/good-eggs-for-nutrition-theyre-hard-to-beat www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7 www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=48 whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid= wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-oats www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp