Healthy Foods when Money is Low

Healthy food doesn’t always have to be a luxury. Knowing where and what to look for can help you save money on healthy food. In many cases, it’s even cheaper than junk food like instant noodles. Even if you’re not a health junkie, these inexpensive health food options can help stretch your budget and improve your health status. It’ll make you feel better so you won’t have to worry about your health and your medical bills (in the future) would be lesser. Here are some food items that you might want to take notice.

Lentils

These small and disk-shaped seeds are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. For their nutritional value, they are rich in fiber, vitamin B6, folic acid, and a good source of vegetarian iron. Even a ½ cup serving will be enough to meet your daily nutritional requirements. Since they’re seeds, you can also incorporate them in a variety of dishes so you’re never bored with them. To maximize the absorption of iron, you can include vitamin C in your meal. For the cost, they only cost less than $2 per pound.

Kiwis

Kiwis look very strange and almost out of this world. That’s why they were named after the small, fuzzy bird from New Zealand. The fruit though is something you might want to permanently put on your grocery list. They cost only $ 0.50 each, yet each fruit is filled with potassium, vitamins E and C. They also have high fiber content and also contain lutein. Lutein helps in protecting your eyes from developing cataracts or degenerating. Eating it is very easy since you can just slice it or scoop out the fleshy part. If it doesn’t bother you that much, you can even leave the skin on to further increase your vitamin C and fiber intake.

Canned Salmon

Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart diseases and reduce inflammation. Our body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own so we have to seek it out as supplements and in our diets. Salmon also provides vitamin D, an essential vitamin for bone health and also reduces the risk of some cancers and heart diseases. It costs only $5 per 14.75-ounce can.

Bananas

They cost only $ 0.50 each and they even come in easy to bring packages. That’s just the beginning. They are rich in vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and also potassium. Potassium has been shown to manage blood pressure effectively. Bananas have also been linked to releasing “happy” hormones in our bodies after digestion. Speaking of digestion, bananas also help regulate your bowel movements. As a fruit, you can eat it frozen, cooked or just raw. Bananas are definitely one thing you should regularly take.

Oatmeal

A lot of people consider this as a boring breakfast option. Over the years, oatmeal hasn’t changed much and people associate this as a breakfast food – nothing else. However, oatmeal has been providing a lot of health benefits at a cheap price. It lowers cholesterol and also reduces the risk of heart diseases. Since it contains soluble fiber, it also helps with your digestion and promotes a healthy bowel movement. There are a lot of ways you can prepare oatmeal as well, not just boiled or added with milk. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to prepare it – just add fruits, nuts or honey.

Brown Rice

Compare with its relative white rice, brown rice has more nutritional content at an even cheaper price. It has a lot of fiber and is digested slowly. This means that you won’t crave for snacks later and your level of energy is steady – no rush or crash involved. The reason brown rice is healthier (and cheaper) than white rice is because it doesn’t undergo a lot of process that ultimately removes their nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and fiber.

Navel Oranges

Named because of their “belly button” on their end, these seedless and sweet oranges are very healthy snack options. They cost under $1 each, but provide you with vitamin C, potassium and folate. Folate helps prevent most of the birth defects (pregnant mothers take note). It’s available all year round, but the best tasting ones come mid-fall until early summer.

Baby Carrots

These aren’t actually tiny or young carrots, but full-sized carrots trimmed down. Their size makes them very easy to eat and they are also an abundant source of beta-carotene. This is actually why carrots have a bright-orange color. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is essential for eye health. In addition, vitamin A is an antioxidant so it helps keep cells fresh and helps boost the immune system.

Popcorn

Before you go berserk, claiming that popcorn isn’t very healthy (or cheap) food, hear us out. The movie variety butter-soaked popcorn is very unhealthy for you and they are expensive as well. We are suggesting you take in their healthier counterpart: air-popped, plain popcorn. It’s still considered a whole-grain snack which contributes only 30 calories per cup. Since they consist of whole grains, they help reduce your predisposition to diabetes and stroke. If you have trouble eating popcorn plain, you can drizzle a bit of olive oil and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast for an additional vitamin B12 and flavor.

Beans

Beans are commonly overlooked because of their size and their “gassy” side-effects. However, this small vegetable has high fiber content, low fat, and a very good source for plant protein. Just half a cup is enough to provide about 5-6 grams of protein. That’s the same amount of protein an ounce of meat has. The high fiber content can easily regulate your bowels (giving you the “gassy” after effects). It’s not that difficult to incorporate beans into your diet as well. You can easily add beans with salads or eat it as a side dish. For their price, just 1 cup costs less than $1.

Yogurt

Instead of chomping down a sandwich or a burger for a snack when you’re hungry, how about a yogurt? It doesn’t sound that appealing, especially when you look at the serving size. However, yogurts are a very good source for protein. Due to their dairy content, they also have calcium which is good for your bones and teeth. You’d be surprised after eating 1 serving, you’ll feel full and you’ll stay full for a long time. Buying them in packs or in bulk can help you save money, just make sure they don’t go past their expiration date. Remember, throwing away expired food is just the same as throwing away your money.

Next time you go shopping or while you’re still preparing your grocery list, make sure that you include these healthy inexpensive foods. These help you get started on staying healthy even if you’re not trying to save money (yet). Some of them don’t even involve changing your diet drastically, just replacing ingredients with healthier ones.