Eating well can be affordable and delicious if you know which foods to keep on hand in your pantry. To make grocery day easier for you, we’ve put together a list of the top healthy foods that are affordable and easy to prepare as part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not already eating these delicious foods, you might like to consider making them more of a priority in your diet.
A great way to start the day, just one serving of oatmeal contains approximately three grams of fiber and four grams of protein. Whole grain oatmeal has been found to have heart-protective benefits, and oatmeal’s high fiber content can help maintain intestinal health. Plus, oatmeal’s high levels of fiber and protein will keep you full until your next meal. Even better, it’s easy to add additional healthy foods, such as peanut butter, frozen fruit, or flax. For a sweet-tasting breakfast, without added sugars, try adding natural stevia to your morning bowl of oatmeal.
2. Brown Rice
Although brown rice usually costs more than white rice, it’s much better for you and will keep you full longer. This is because, unlike white rice, which is stripped of its outer coating, brown rice still contains fiber, iron, B-vitamins, and other nutrients. Brown rice is easy to cook; in fact, brown rice can be prepared in less than an hour. If you live a busy lifestyle, it’s simple to prepare a large pot of brown rice at the beginning of the week. The rice can then be easily added to almost any meal throughout the week.
Although nuts cost more per ounce than the other items on this list, you don’t need to eat many nuts in order to see positive effects. A small handful every day is often enough to produce benefits. Nuts are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and many important minerals, such as magnesium and iron. In particular, the fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats present in nuts can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Keep in mind that if you’re buying roasted nuts, it’s a good idea to check the sodium content to make sure it’s not too high. You might also want to consider storing nuts in the fridge, in order to prevent their natural oils from becoming rancid.
Keep in mind that if you’re buying roasted nuts, it’s a good idea to check the sodium content in order to make sure that it’s not too high. You might also want to consider storing nuts in the fridge in order to prevent their natural oils from becoming rancid.
If finding affordable sources of protein is one of your concerns, then beans are a great option. Beans are a great way to supplement a meal, as they blend well with grains, protein, and vegetables. Beans contain high amounts of fiber and protein, and may even be able to help lower cholesterol. Purchasing dried beans is often much more affordable than buying canned beans, and you may be relieved to hear that soaking dried beans can often decrease the substances that cause gastrointestinal troubles.
Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, are high in good Omega-3 fats. This is great news because Omega-3s are known to be beneficial for your heart and brain. Furthermore, purchasing canned fish is an excellent way to keep a quick and healthy protein on hand for fast meals. If you’re concerned about mercury content in your fish, then you may want to purchase farm-raised fish, instead of wild-caught fish.
Some people are nervous about the cholesterol content in eggs, but research shows that eating eggs in moderation is fine. Eggs are high in protein and are a quick food item to pack for snacks and lunches on the go. If possible, look for free-range eggs, which contain higher levels of vitamins and healthy fats than conventionally farmed eggs.
7. Plain Yogurt
High in protein and full of probiotics, yogurt is a very healthy breakfast and snack food. Furthermore, if you’re lactose intolerant, you may even be able to find lactose-free brands of yogurt. When you purchase yogurt, however, be careful to check the sugar content. Many flavored yogurts are full of sugar, which decreases yogurt’s overall health benefits.
8. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Sometimes frozen fruits and vegetables are less expensive than fresh varieties, which means that buying frozen produce can help you get more healthy food into your diet. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as healthy as the fresh variety, and they’re also extremely convenient to prepare.
9. Vegetables in Season
You’ll likely notice that the price of vegetables drops when they’re in season, which means that it’s economical to try to base your menu around what’s currently growing in your region. If you’re not sure what’s in season, you can research your area online, check with your local grocery store, or look at what’s being offered at local farmers’ markets.
Depending on your location, you may be able to find foods that are organic or locally grown. If so, then it’s great if you’re able to afford these options once in a while. However, keep in mind that, regardless of whether or not you’re eating foods that are organic or local, it’s still much better to eat natural, whole foods than it is to eat foods that are highly processed. Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be healthy!