Eating well-balanced meals and an overall healthy diet does not have to come at the expense of your wallet. Clearly, fast food meals are cheaper than fresh produce. Unfortunately, a box of fries and a burger immersed in grease does not present the nutrition an individual requires on a daily basis. Adopting a poorly balanced diet can lead to a handful of health problems which, while unapparent at the moment, can emerge anytime.
Keep yourself and your family eating healthy by searching for healthier alternatives that are affordable and can be eaten regularly. Here are some examples of cheap but nutritious foods that are readily available.
Not only are they delicious, eggs are also an affordable source of protein. Weightlifters and bodybuilders consume two to three hard boiled eggs everyday as a substitute for expensive protein shakes and soy drinks. Eggs also offer other vitamins and minerals including vitamin A and B12, selenium, and riboflavin. For all this nutritional value, eggs only set you back for $3 a dozen. Another great thing about eggs is that it is an all-purpose ingredient. You can put it anywhere, from omelets to salads.
Sweet potato is another budget-friendly but nutrition-packed food you can add to your newly found diet. Sweet potatoes contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals. The long list includes vitamin B6 and C, potassium, manganese, and fiber. They also have beta carotene equivalent to that of a carrot’s. Beta carotene is an important nutrient that prevents heart diseases and asthma. The best way to prepare sweet potatoes is by baking or roasting them. Both cooking methods help preserve most of the nutrients inside the potato. Avoid boiling them as it will lead to substantial loss of vitamins and minerals.
Now who said oats are only good for the heart? Oatmeal is also great for your savings. This whole grain meal helps minimize bad cholesterol, which ultimately lower the risk for heart diseases like elevated blood pressure and heart attack. Oatmeal contains the same amount of antioxidants as vegetables do. Replacing at least one meal of the day with oatmeal also offers weight management benefits. Oatmeal contains low calories but provides an adequate amount of energy to help you function properly the entire day.
Apples are another healthy but affordable food choice. The fruit contains significant amounts of vitamin C and is concentrated with both soluble and insoluble fiber. Apples also help clear out the skin from acne. Eat them as is, with salads, or stuff them in a pie. Apples costs around $1.50 per pound, depending on the type of apple and season.
Leafy green spinach is rich in vitamins A, K, C, and folic acid, and they cost only $1.20 per bundle. They are a great addition to salads, pasta, casseroles, stews, and soups. Another reason to eat them is that they contain flavonoids, a phytonutrient with anti-cancer attributes. Spinach also contains anti-inflammatory properties thanks to neoxanthin and violaxanthin.
Next on our list is cabbage. This piece of vegetable is used to treat a number of complications including constipation, headache, obesity, skin disorders, jaundice, etc. Such value in health is all attributed to its abundance of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. Now you know why the Chinese put this popular ingredient in many of their dishes. Cabbage is a great addition to soups, sandwiches, and salads.
When purchasing healthy but cheap food, consider its freshness and quality. If the food is overripe or has been mishandled you are not getting as many of the nutrients as well as it is more likely to going bad on you and just being a waste of money. Make sure that it is fresh and still nutritious. In general if you can find a local food coop you are better garanteed to get fresher items as well as help you save even more on your grocery bill.
What are some of your favorite cheap healthy foods?
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About the Author: KC Beavers is a semi-retired entrepreneur. The subject of personal finance has always fascinated him. In an effort to not bore those around him with all his love of personal finance as much he has come here to bore all of you instead. Be sure to follow KC on Twitter or Google+.
I like all of those except oats.... I don't mind oatmeal, but it's not what I like to eat in the morning.
Scrambled eggs and wheat bread in the morning just make my day. We are also keeping an eye on seasoned fruits and vegetables so that we can have them cheaply. Healthy lifestyle and living means staying away from all the medical expenses..
My wife and I try to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season. They cost less in season, and taste better. We eat a lot of eggs, and I'm a big fan of carrots for snacking, and used in dishes. Sweet potatoes, squash, and zucchini are also high on my list.
Squash in season is very cheap. Broccoli is pretty cheap. Chicken is inexpensive when bought on a deep discount, as is ham. Onions, potatoes, carrots,and turnips are cheap, too. Don't forget bananas!
Around here, spinach is VERY pricey most of the time. Kale is cheap, but you have to cook it. Apricots/plums/peaches are cheap in season only.
@Jenny at FrugalGuruGuide I am suprised to here that spinach is pricey there. I can always get it very cheap. Kale is more expensive for me, but I do have Kale every morning as part of my green smoothie.