Budget-Friendly Foods: Top 5 Healthy Picks

Today many people need to look at their purses or waistlines. After a bit of number crunching, we came up with top foods that offer the highest nutritional value for the money you spend on food.

1) Eggs

Instead of spending a fortune on beef, chicken, or fish to eat for dinner, why not make a vegetarian frittata or omelet (my current favorite method is to prepare eggs!)? Eggs are a great source of protein and their antioxidant lutein (for good eyesight, healthy skin, and the heart). A giant egg has 65 calories and six grams of protein. Make a batch and keep eggs in the fridge for a quick snack. I also put an egg with a hard boil in my child’s lunchbox every week at least. A dozen large eggs cost between $2 and $3.20. If you purchase eggs in 1.5 dozen or more (bulk warehouses offer 7 to 8 dozen boxes), You’ll pay lower per egg. If there are too many eggs to fit in your fridge, you can share them with a friend.

2) Oranges

Include a variety of affordable fruits on your shopping list for the week Apples, oranges, and bananas. These are in season right now and include vitamin C-rich oranges, and you’ll be able to find the best prices (about 50 cents each). The fall is the time to load your cart with freshly picked apples. You can find bananas for sale at an affordable price all year round (I’ve lately seen them for 19 cents per piece). You can use these fruits for snack items and cereal toppings (as opposed to the more expensive exotic fruits and berries). Bananas frozen in the freezer are also an excellent addition to smoothies with healthy fruits.

3) Oats

The big canisters of plain and rolled oatmeal, not the single-serving sugary canisters, will give you the most value for your money. A serving of oatmeal (made with a half-cup of dry oats) has 150 calories, five grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber that are cholesterol-friendly, all for only 30 cents. Make your oatmeal more appealing by adding the budget-friendly fruits mentioned above, or add a teaspoon or two of peanut butter (another food item worthy of the honor of being a budget-friendly food). Include rolled oats in your cookies or smoothie for an extra dose of fiber.

4) Canned Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes can cost you quite a bit at this time of the season. But you’ll have plenty of antioxidants, vitamin C and Lycopene from canned tomatoes. The bigger the can, the better value you’ll get. For a 48-ounce can, crushed tomatoes cost approximately $1.50 (that’s five cents for each ounce!). Use crushed tomatoes in chili, stews, soups, or pasta dishes. Learn more about methods to cook using canned tomatoes.

5) Non-Fat Yogurt

With calcium and high in protein, The creamy dessert is ideal for breakfast or as a go-to snack. The natural star ingredient in yogurt is the healthful live bacteria known as probiotics. They aid in fighting against harmful bacteria and help keep your digestive system in top form. Select yogurt that contains skim milk and no sugar substitutes. The generic brands cost less, mainly if you can find these in big 32-ounce tubs. They can save you 20% on the same amount of yogurt in single-serve containers. If you’re trying to consume less sugar, go for plain yogurt. You can top it off with your preferred add-craisins, chunks of fruit, or even a few tablespoons of Granola. Tips for a healthier lifestyle: Since yogurts have an average shelf-life of about a couple of months, it’s not uncommon to find your preferred yogurt for sale (the stores have to get them off their shelves); therefore, check out your weekly newspaper.

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