Eating healthy foods can be a challenge, especially when on a tight budget.
Eating healthy can be hard. We all love to carbo load and binge our favorite shows with a pint of ice cream, but does that really fulfill us? Don’t answer that. It’s amazing in the moment, but that sluggish feeling after can be debilitating and lead us down another season of that halfway decent show. It is easy to buy unhealthy foods for they are often the cheaper options when faced with a tight budget. But there are ways to stretch that dollar and spend less in the grocery store while also eating healthy and feeling great.
Many foods full of those essential vitamins and nutrients can be expensive and looking at the price tag can turn you away instantly. But the benefits to eating healthy go far beyond keeping off those unwanted pounds. While eating healthy can lead to effective weight loss, it can boost your energy, keep you full for longer, and even set you up to better handle stress. The physical and emotional gains you can make by eating healthy are important to your growth as an athlete or whatever lifestyle you follow, so do not let a high price tag deter you from your goals. These foods provide cheap and healthy options to keep you looking and feeling your best.
Broccoli is a great source of many essential nutrients and contains more protein than most vegetables. Full of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium, broccoli is great both raw and cooked. Low in calories, broccoli is easily digested and can improve gut health due to the amount of fiber it contains. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper for taste, and this green treat is a cheap and effective food to keep you going. At $1.25 to $3 per pound, broccoli is a great stand alone snack or side dish to a hearty meal.
Many of us remember our parents making this and forcing us to finish before we can leave the table and while we may have been upset about it then, this leafy green is full of great benefits. Packed with minerals like zinc and calcium, along with vitamins including vitamin C and vitamin A, spinach can help improve eyesight and also cognitive function. At $2 to $4 per eight-ounce bag, this vegetable goes great in an omelette or alongside any dish.
Frozen vegetables are a great way to save money without sacrificing any of the cost. On the whole, frozen vegetables retain the nutrients of fresh vegetables since they are frozen very soon after being harvested. It is best to buy plain frozen vegetables for they don’t have the added seasonings that pack on the calories. The price of frozen vegetables depends on where you shop, but at a affordable prices, pick these up and add your own seasonings for whatever taste you desire.
Chicken is a great source of lean protein that can aid in weight loss or the promotion of lean muscle while also giving you that much needed energy boost. Full of protein, chicken will keep you full without the high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol that red meat can provide. With countless recipes to try, a hearty piece of chicken will satiate any hungry stomach. Price all depends on weight, but chicken is the perfect affordable and healthy protein.
Canned tuna is full of health benefits and won’t empty your wallet. With a decent shelf life and affordable price, it is a cheaper option than fresh fish. Full of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acid, canned tuna will keep you full while also reducing inflammation. With healthy doses of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, which can grow and repair your body cells and tissues, canned tuna is a great option at $2-3 for a 6-ounce can.
The perfect breakfast food, or breakfast-for-dinner meal, eggs are full of protein and antioxidants. Full of vitamins and minerals that help your nervous system, eggs are a good addition to pair with any of those green vegetables for a tasty meal. At $3-4 a dozen, you can make eggs a staple in your diet.
Whether baked or boiled, Russet potatoes will keep you full and offer a large amount of vitamin C and vitamin B. The fiber will aid in digestion and the skin can benefit your immune system health. While all the toppings of a good baked potato are appealing, eaten plain, this starchy friend will help you big time. With a price tag of $0.56 per pound, don’t be afraid to add these to your shopping list.
Easy to cook, sweet potatoes can be baked or simply placed in the microwave for quick cooking. Full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, sweet potatoes are delicious and healthy in more ways than one. Feel free to add spices to give this orange carb a tasty boost and at just under a dollar a pound you’ll love that you added this to your diet.
While too much pasta can be a carb overload, in moderation, everyone’s favorite food can be quite beneficial for you. Considered one of the best sources of carbs, pasta will keep you full and give you energy, all while filling you with iron and other essential vitamins. Paired with a piece of chicken, you can cook yourself a hearty, healthy meal without spending a fortune. While the cost depends on brand and where you shop, it is still an affordable option that will last a long time.
Bananas tend to have a reputation of being high in sugar and not the best option for a snack, but the natural sugar in fruit is something to satisfy your sweet tooth without grabbing a candy bar. Packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, bananas are the perfect snack. With an average price of $0.50 per pound, this grab and go option is sure to do the trick.
Peanut butter also has the stigma of being fatty, which although true, should not be a deterrent. Fat from peanut butter is good fat that your body needs and wants. Providing carbs, protein, and fat, peanut butter is a solid source of vitamins and nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and copper. Depending on the brand, a 15-ounce jar of peanut butter is around $3.50 average and is a cheaper alternative to the other nut butters. Grab a spoonful of peanut butter and a banana and enjoy this cheap, sweet, and tasty treat.
While grocery shopping can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Eating healthy is something we all want to do, but often times don’t have the means or know-how to make work. These foods are cheap and effective ways to ensure you eat and stay healthy while not sacrificing on taste or creativity. Save money and pounds by giving these a try!
*Images courtesy of Envato