Friday, July 15, 2011

Eating healthy the inexpensive way

Eating healthy is not expensive. You can fill your shopping cart with some of the healthiest foods in the supermarket for far less money than you might think. Whether you are on a tight budget or are simply looking for ways to eat better without paying top dollar, there are options down every aisle.

Canned Fish

Canned fish, such as water-packed tuna and salmon, delivers maximum nutrition but costs far less than fresh fish. Canned fish is a source of lean protein, is high in vitamins and minerals and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are a type of essential unsaturated fat that may lower LDL or "bad"  cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of stroke.

Consumer Reports recommends choosing beans, either canned or dried, if your food budget is tight. Beans are inexpensive, versatile, and a great source of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Add them to soups, pasta dishes, salads and chili to increase bulk. While canned beans are the easiest and most convenient to use, dried beans are the most economical.

Rolled Oats

Oats are a nutrient-rich whole grain. For the best value, buy the large, cylindrical container of old-fashioned rolled oats. Oatmeal is a hearty, carbohydrate-, protein- and fiber-rich hot breakfast. Use oats as an ingredient in meatloaf, cookies, pancakes and muffins. Oats, on their own, contain no artificial ingredients or sugars, just 100 percent whole-grain rolled oats.

Sweet Potatoes
Save money by purchasing sweet potatoes by the bag. With the right add-ons,  sweet potatoes can make a satisfying entree. They serve as a base for healthful, creative toppings such as unflavored yogurt, cottage cheese, black beans, salsa and low-fat cheese. Sweet potatoes are a bit more expensive but offer even more nutrients. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber.

Powdered or Evaporated Milk

Powdered milk stretches further than fluid, and evaporated, canned milk is less costly than fresh milk. These are economical, nutrient-rich substitutes for fluid milk, especially for recipes. Use it in soups, casseroles, and mashed sweet potatoes. Doing so enables you to save your fresh milk for drinking or adding to your coffee or cereal.


Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein. They are versatile and make for a quick meal any time of the day. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways. The protein and fat in eggs helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, so you are less likely to overdo it at the next meal. Use them to make a healthy meatless dinner, such as an elegant omelet.


Much like potatoes, purchasing apples by the bag goes a long way, and is more economical than buying larger apples by the pound. Apples are know to be nutritious. One medium-sized fruit meets roughly 15 percent of your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Apples are also rich in vitamin C.

Frozen Vegetables

According to the Cleveland Clinic, as long as you avoid the fancy blends and shop generic or off-brand, frozen vegetables are a budget-friendly health food. Vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness and retain their nutrients well. Select from colorful vitamin-rich choices, such as carrots, broccoli and green beans.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is high in protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. A little of this kid-friendly budget food goes a long way. A mere 2 tbsp. serving meets over 10 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV, for many nutrients, such as vitamin E, vitamin B-3, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

Brown Rice

This nutritious whole-grain food is a budget buy, as long as you avoid fancy boxed mixes and instant varieties. Just buy plain, long-grain bagged or boxed brown rice. In addition to energizing carbohydrates, cooked brown rice is packed with nutrients, such as niacin and vitamin B-6, magnesium, copper, manganese, selenium and dietary fiber.

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