Monday, June 26, 2017

8 of the Healthiest Foods to Eat on a Budget

A lot of us have been believing a huge misconception, that eating healthy costs a lot. 

Perhaps some of us are learning the basics, cook at home as much as we can, buy food when it is in season and at local markets, buy in bulk if you are going to use it and can afford it. 

But a lot of us are still believing that to eat healthy, we have to buy expensive food, use expensive ingredients and that eating on a budget means ramen noodles. 

It just isn't true, it does take learning a new way of thinking and learning a few new skills, but feeding your family healthy foods on a budget is not only possible, but opens a whole new amazing world. 

Brown Rice -

Rice is a basic food for a lot of places around the world because it is so inexpensive. Lots of times rice (and all carbs) can get a bad reputation for being healthy, but your body actually needs carbohydrates to function. Especially ones that are whole grain, they'll have you stay full longer, are lots higher in nutrition and have fiber. 

Non-fat Greek Yogurt - 

You made have heard Greek Yogurt called a superfood, that is another food buzzword that I don't like much, but it is really good for you. It is packed with nutritional value and one of the best things about it is that you can substitute it for a lot of things that aren't great for you, like sour cream. It is great source of protein. You can add it to your diet and include good things while reducing less that good things. 

Old fashioned oatmeal - 

Oatmeal can be one of those foods that you love to eat or you just can't stand. But with all the health benefits and the inexpensive prices - it is worth putting in your pantry. You can use it to make energy bites, cookies and granola bars. Try overnight oats and eat them cold if you don't like hot cereal. Plus you can make it savory as well as sweet. Avoid buying instant oatmeal and really avoid the sugar and chemical filled packets. They are more sugar than oatmeal anyway. 

Beans - 

Black beans, red beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, there are almost as many kinds of beans as there are people. And there are twice as many ways to add beans to your diet. When you buy canned beans, be sure you are buying the Low-Sodium or No-Sodium ones, or even better, buy dry and make your own. (You can freeze them!) They not only add fiber to your diet, but they are an excellent source for inexpensive protein. So add some to your salads, to your tacos, mash them up and spread them on your sandwiches.  I have heard you can even put them in your brownies. 

Canned Tuna -

Canned tuna is another in expensive protein. It has the benefit of being light on fats and full of Omega-3's - those are the healthy fats that help your brain function and repair our cells. Talk about the mercury levels in tuna has caused a lot of scares in the news, especially for kids and pregnant women, but the best rule is to just eat it in moderation. 

Sweet Potatoes -

There probably isn't a person left in the world that doesn't know sweet potatoes are good for you. But I think that most of us don't realize just how good they are for us. They contain 377% of our daily recommended intake of vitamin A. They also contain vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. The list goes on and on, it is embarrassing really to be so darn healthy and taste so good. Since they are nutrient dense and full of fiber, you'll feel fuller longer when you eat them. You can eat them sweet or savory, make soup out of them, or roast them, even put them on top of salads. 

Apples and other In Season / Low-cost Fruits - 

Fresh fruits are always a good idea when it comes to eating healthy, but out of season they can cost a pretty penny.  When avocados are in season, I can find them for half the price of what they are during the winter months. Learn what fruits are in season in your area and buy them then. Also keep in mind that apples, and bananas are almost always less expensive the mangoes and pineapple. - And fresh fruit is better for you, more filling and costs less than juice. 

Broccoli, Cauliflower and other Low-Cost / In Season Veggies - 

My favorite budget friendly veggie tip is to buy the veggies as close to their natural state and "process" them yourselves. Buy a bag of whole carrots and cut them into snacking size yourself. Buy whole heads of cauliflower and broccoli and use up those broccoli stems in stir-fries, casseroles and cole slaw.  Keep your eyes open for sales on 50 lb boxes of potatoes during the fall and clearance sales on squash at the farm stands. These will keep in a cold storage area for months. ( I keep mine in my unheated garage).  

Yes, it does take learning some new ways of thinking, and for sure some new ways of eating. but you really can eat healthy food without breaking the bank. You can feed your family food that is high quality and will nourish them without spending a fortune. You don't have to spend a ton to eat well.