Sometimes a trip to the grocery store is a risky financial venture. Here is a list of affordable healthy foods that you can have on hand to cook at home, which is always preferable to eating out. If you compare the cost of eating out to the cost of cooking at home, you can easily see how you can afford good groceries. The difference in your nutrition if you routinely eat at home rather than eat out can be astounding.
The Incredible Egg
Eggs are a staple in my house. For many years eggs got a bad rap. Science was telling us that eggs were bad for us and people tried to avoid them for years. The yolk of an egg contains 27% of the DV for the critical brain food, acetylcholine. I eat at least two every day and sometimes as many as six. My blood work is perfect.
Oats are my powerhouse for gaining strength. Since I am a heavy weight lifter, I need nutritionally dense foods that will give me sustained energy for at least two hours of intense exercise. Oats are just what the doctor ordered. They are inexpensive and easy to prepare. Add a 0 calorie sweetener of your choice and other toppings for a wonderful meal that will keep you full for hours. Oats have 191% of the DV for Manganese and large amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. They help me fill my carbohydrate needs with good, complex carbs. They are extremely nutritionally dense.
Full-fat Greek yogurt is a wonderful food. It is a rich source of calcium providing 25% of the DV. It also contains a good serving of protein, coming in at 16 grams for the 3/4 cup serving. Both protein and calcium stoke your metabolism.
Extra Virgin Olive oil contains 13% of the DV for Vitamin E and 7% of the DV for Vitamin K. It also contains 73% of the DV for monounsaturated Fat for the 1 Tablespoon serving.
100% Whole grain breads are convenient for a quick sandwich. I eat very few sandwiches because I am conservative with carbohydrates but sandwiches can be a healthy option when you choose good, lean protein for the meat and healthy add-ins such as romaine lettuce which is more nutritious than many other lettuces.
Low carb and high fiber tortillas or corn tortillas cam also be used to make a very quick wrap. Keep boneless chicken breasts cooked and you can have a healthy wrap in just a few minutes! Add your favorite cheese if you like it, and healthy salsa, herbs and spices.
Whole grain brown rice is a filling and versatile starch that packs good nutrition. It is rich in the flavonoid antioxidants luteolin, apigenin and quercetin which help your immune system fight disease.
Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables and fruits can add healthy bulk and a vast array of vitamins and minerals. I eat more vegetables than fruit because fruit has a lot of fruit sugar or fructose in it so it’s high in carbs. I limit fruit to one serving per day. Sweet potatoes are a favorite vegetable of mine. Just pop one in the microwave and in just a few minutes, you have a wonderful bundle of healthy, complex carbs.
Beans are a cheap, high protein, filling food. If you want to cook dried beans from scratch that’s fine but many canned dried beans are really good. I was raised on pintos but now I eat red beans. They seem to cause me less digestive upset. You can also buy digestive enzymes that may ease any uncomfortable symptoms caused by beans.
Protein Is King
Skinless chicken tenderloins cook quickly from fresh or frozen, and frozen, skinless salmon filets will thaw in running cold water quickly and grill up on a griddle in minutes. Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the beginning of many diseases.
I like beef and choose 93% lean ground beef for less saturated fat and less mess in the kitchen. Round, sirloin, chuck and loin are also considered healthier cuts of beef than some others. As expensive as beef can be, it’s cheaper at home than eaten out. Lean beef is about 26% protein after cooking and I love my protein! Pork tenderloin is a good choice if you like pork. Pork is rich in many vitamins and minerals including iron.
Keep your favorite vinegar to mix with olive oil to make delicious romaine lettuce salads. Have herbs and spices on hand to spark your meals up. I particularly like a good chili-lime seasoning. It’s very versatile and provides real zing wherever you use it.
Nuts and seeds are nutritional goldmines. To eat nuts without gaining weight, always measure or weigh your serving of nuts and put the bag away. Since I started employing these tactics, I eat nuts and seeds every day without gaining fat.
Buy your fresh foods in season for the best prices and the best nutrition. Shop from a list to prevent spontaneous purchase and keep a running list in your kitchen. Read food labels and avoid “added sugar” and excessive sodium. And as always, shop the periphery of the store and only go down the aisles to retrieve specific items. Your healthy, whole foods are on the periphery.
With a little planning you can cut your food costs and improve your nutrition. Start today!