Food is becoming more expensive and health conscious people are actively trying to find cheap alternatives to healthy food. Packaged foods and junk foods will cost less and might make sense in these economic times, but this is no way to ensure good health. In this article, we detail 15 cheap yet very healthy and wholesome alternatives to expensive healthy foods. Low price does not have to mean low quality, and this list goes to prove that fact. Many of the foods listed in this article work out at $2 or less per pound.
Beans are a terrific, cheap way to get your daily intake of good protein, fiber, folate, iron and manganese. Eating a cup or two of cooked beans can even bring down your cholesterol levels. Give all members of the bean family a try: lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, runner beans, French beans, broadbeans, and lima beans.
Broccoli is not only light, tasty and versatile, but it’s also packed full of excellent nutrients. A serving of broccoli a day and you’ll be richer with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, fiber and folate. Doctors recommend eating broccoli to keep heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes at bay.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice gives you health and value for money. Buy a bag of brown rice for $2 and get about 20 servings out of it. Brown rice has more and better quality fiber than white rice and makes an excellent carbohydrate addition to any meal. You can use brown rice in rice salads, eat it with spicy gravy, or add it to thicken stews, casseroles and soups.
Oats, the breakfast staple, is at once cheap and a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Eating a bowl of cooked oats for breakfast can even bring down your cholesterol levels. Buy whole oats, such as king oats and unprocessed oats, in bulk. This way you can get the most out of price and nutrient value.
An excellent source of protein, eggs also give you your daily allowance of the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which will protect your eyes from the vagaries of aging over time. Eggs are definitely cheap, and a few dollars a month is all you’ll have to spend to ensure healthy breakfasts all around.
Cook it, steam it, broil it, toss it in your green salad or stir fry it. Whichever way you prefer to eat it, kale is value for money. At a dollar a bunch, you can get a great load of carotenoids, vitamin C, and calcium. Kale is easily available at most supermarkets.
7. Root Vegetables.
Potatoes are great sources of Vitamin C and potassium. Add other root veggies such as sweet potatoes and yams to your diet as well and benefit from the good stores of beta carotene they contain.
An apple a day does keep the doctor away. This fruit, fairly easy to find and quite inexpensive, are great sources of protein. They also contain the fiber pectin which helps reduce cholesterol. Apples also contain Vitamin C, an essential nutrient that should be part of your daily intake.
9. Whole Grain Bread
Buy whole grain bread instead of white bread. You can buy whole wheat, rye, millet or mixed grains bread. Not only will this work out cheaper than sweet white bread, but nutrition wise, you’ll hit gold. Whole grain breads are high in fiber and protein.
What’s important to know is that nuts are packed with fat, but only the kinds of fat you must eat! Loaded with unsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as omega-3, nuts are a godsend source of vitamin E, protein and fiber. Some nuts are expensive but if you buy them with their shells in bulk, you’ll get them at low prices.
Bananas are a terrific supplement to your daily nutrition. A bunch of bananas at your local traders or farmer’s market shouldn’t set you back by more than a dollar or two. This filling and nutrient-dense food is high in potassium. A moderate sized banana contains 9 grams of fiber as well.
12. Stone-ground Whole Wheat Flour
Instead of buying pancake flour, cake flour and cookie mixes separately, save all the cost and err on the side of health. Buy stone-ground whole wheat flour in bulk (you can get a 5 pound bag for less than 2 dollars) and use it to make pancakes, cakes, breads, waffles, muffins and cookies. Mix it with white flour for fluffy recipes.
13. Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts are relatively cheap, easy to cook and almost everyone likes chicken. In most stores, you’ll get chicken for less than 4 dollars a pound. Chicken is filling and contains plenty of lean protein. Use lean chicken breasts, discarding the fatty skin.
14. Romaine Lettuce And Salad Greens
Buy romaine lettuce, spinach, rocket and green salad leaves of different kinds from farmer’s market, and not the packaged salads in supermarkets. Radicchio, beetroot tops, and other greens can also be eaten in salads and these can be bought for next to nothing. Greens are packed with vitamins A, C and K and contain tons of fiber and calcium.
15. Canned Vegetables, Hummus and Legumes
Canned foods are usually fairly cheap and can be bought in bulk. These are generally free of preservatives and can be stored for a long time. Use canned tomatoes in pasta dishes, sauces and chili. When you don’t have anything else in your kitchen, you can always use canned veggies to whip up a meal.