If you’re on a budget eating healthy can seem like an uphill challenge. Many of the cheapest foods to eat also have the highest fat and sugar content, making them terrible for your health and your waistline. But don’t despair, there are plenty of great healthy foods that are suitable even for the smallest of budgets.
While carbohydrates are seen as the enemy in many popular diets such as Atkins and Dukan, they do make up an essential part of the dietary mix that we’re supposed to eat. If you’re on a low budget stay away from fad diets and instead follow standard nutritional guidelines for a healthy diet by including carbs. They’re often cheap and not all of them are as terrible potato chips and white bread. Instead go for the brown or wholegrain options, you’ll find them similarly priced to the white options at most stores and they pack in far more nutrients.
Use these wholegrain carbs as the basis for your meals, to which you’ll add other healthy ingredients. There’s thousands of varieties that can be made using brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread. Some of it will require some creativity, but you can often find suitable recipes online.
Vegetables can often be the most expensive items in supermarkets when fresh. They are one of the most profitable items for the big stores and sadly can seem out of reach when you’re budget is on a diet. It’s still possible to get fresh vegetables at other venues such as markets and low cost grocery stores, but if you don’t have time to shop around then head to the frozen food section where frozen vegetables are significantly cheaper. They may require some preparation time to put into your recipes, but you won’t have to worry about sell-by dates. Not convinced? Many restaurants and cafes use frozen vegetables in their meals without their patrons realising. They key to a getting a good taste from them is in the cooking.
Protein is essential and can’t be cut back on. Sadly some of the most expensive items in our diets are also our main sources of protein such as meats and fish. While it’s possible to get cheaper meat and fish, recent problems with contamination of low cost meat, along with the generally poor quality of these ingredients, mean many are looking for alternatives. Canned beans can be a great alternative as they’re both cheap and packed with protein. We’re not just talking baked beans here, but things like refried beans that go in burritos and enchiladas (which, by the way, form a great recipe that also includes the brown rice healthy carbs mentioned above). Some lesser known fish are often as tasty as their more popular cousins and due to lower demand far cheaper at both the supermarket and fishmongers. Old classics like mackerel and sardines also tend to be both cheap and packed with goodness – consider combining with eggs for a protein rich omelette.
Remember that a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about a healthy diet. Try to get as much exercise as possible even if you have very little time to do in it. Consider cycling to work instead of taking public transport or a car, it’s both healthy and cheaper – and if you live in an area with frequent traffic jams sometimes faster. You can also exercise even when sitting at a desk such as by holding your stomach in for ten seconds every twenty seconds. Avoiding certain foods can also help maintain your waistline and your health. Cut back on alcohol – it’s expensive and, unless you drink pure spirits, full of calories.
About the Author:
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