One of the most common objection to eating healthy foods is the cost, but healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Let us help you find the nutrients you need at a price you can afford. It helps to think about healthy food choices in terms of the nutrition each food contains. You know you need protein and fiber, and that vitamins and low fat are good for you. Here are a dozen healthy, low-cost foods that will keep you on track without breaking the bank.
Black beams have a rich, mineral flavor, so they’re perfect in chilis, fresh Mexican dishes, even healthy brownies! Black beans are also high in fiber and packed with iron. They contain calcium, potassium, folic acid, and other minerals, and they combine with rice to form a complete protein. Beans are always reasonably priced, but try to avoid canned beans to keep your sodium intake to a minimum.
All rice starts out as brown rice. The bran and germ layers are removed to produce white rice, but this reduces the nutritional content. Low on calories and high in minerals, brown rice is perfect when paired with beans. Stick with long grain over white for six times the fiber content.
It may sound funny, but this tiny seed with the unusual name is a bona fide superfood. Versatile, popular, and loaded with protein and fiber, quinoa also boasts nine essential acids your body doesn’t produce naturally. Try quinoa as a side or a stuffing, or substitute it in some of the dishes you traditionally serve with other grains.
Tasty enough to be a desert, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and B6. These beta-carotene vitamins are great for your skin, keeping them healthy and clean. It’s best to stay away from the sweet potato’s traditional, starch-packed white cousin, which offers far less nutrients.
One constant in any healthy diet has to be the incredible, edible egg. Rich in lean protein and easy to prepare, eggs easily hold their own as a main dish. Eggs can be prepared in so many different ways, that you may be able to eat them for several days in a row without getting tired of them.
Packed with healthy bacteria, plain yogurt contains more than a third of your recommended daily calcium intake. Nonfat Greek yogurt is packed with protein to keep you fuller longer, and it’s delicious when paired with granola, fruit, or honey.
Protein-rich cottage cheese is an excellent addition to savory and sweet dishes alike. It tastes great by itself, but it really shines when eaten with fruit, honey, or jam. You can even use cottage cheese as a substitute for heavier creams in your favorite creamy sauces.
Possibly the best self-packaged food ever, the banana is loaded with potassium and fiber. It’s the perfect on-the-go- snack, and it tastes great with everything from cereal to peanut butter. When you’re in a hurry and don’t want to ruin your diet, remember: fruit is fast food!
Since long before Popeye came onto the scene, spinach has been associated with health. Spinach is a well-known super food, packed with iron and other essential vitamins and minerals. It makes a great salad, and steamed spinach takes omelets and quiches to the next nutritional level.
This Asian food has really caught on with healthy eaters worldwide. Edamame is a pod of unripened soy beans, traditionally served boiled or steamed. Low in protein and high in fiber, this iron-rich snack is a tasty standalone snack. Edamame is great in the pod or shelled, and it goes well with plenty of dishes.
Take it from rabbits: carrots are one of the healthiest and tastiest things you can eat. Nutritious and packed with beta-carotene, carrots are great raw, cooked, steamed, marinated, pureed, or any other way you can think of. And if you’re looking for antioxidants, look no further: carrots are your go-to vegetable for any occasion.
This tangy citrus fruit has earned as many fans for its unique taste, and it doesn’t hurt that one grapefruit contains more than 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Like other citruses, Grapefruits are in season during the winter months. This means that they’ll be the less expensive, and just in time to help boost your immunity during cold and flu season!
When it comes to healthy foods that aren’t pricey, this list is just the start! There are plenty of other beneficial and inexpensive foods to try. As a rule, remember that the fewer steps between the farm and your table, the more nutrients the food contains. Opt for fresh first, then frozen, and used canned as a last resort, and remember that fresh produce is least expensive when it’s in season. Grab these foods the next time you’re at the store, and you’ll do your body and your wallet a favor at the same time. Start eating healthier for less today!