If you are looking to maintain a healthy diet, getting caught up in fancy superfoods can leave you feeling overwhelmed with a sizeable dent in your wallet. The good news is the basics of a healthy diet won’t cost you an arm and a leg. As a basic rule, shop fruits and vegetables that are in season, and stick to local produce, as it’s often the freshest and most nutritious. Always stock up on any leafy green vegetables that are in season and choose easily accessible fruits. Today we are sharing with you some of our favorite cheap health foods that can slide easily into your food budget.
Embracing and welcoming beans is something many people don’t do enough of. Beans are a great source of plant based protein. Fava beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are all very inexpensive and can be cooked in many different ways. Increase the nutritional value from beans by planning ahead and using dried beans over canned/jarred.
How to Eat: Add to your salad, have them on their own, or make chickpeas into hummus for an easy and delicious dip.
Almonds may be high in fat and calories, but they are one of the most nutritious snacks you can munch on throughout the day. One serving of almonds contains an impressive 6g of protein, 3.5g of fibre, and more than 1/3 of your daily vitamin E requirements. Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants to fight ageing and a host of modern day diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Making your own almond butter at home is also an investment that will save you lots of cash in the long run.
How to Eat: Snack on raw almonds, add to stir-fries, almond butter on toast or crackers.
It’s time to go bananas for…bananas! The yellow fruit will give you an instant boost of energy and fulfil your body’s potassium and magnesium requirements too. The high level of tryptophan in bananas gets converted to serotonin in our body – the happy mood compound which helps avoid depression.
How to Eat: On their own, added to oatmeal, dried banana chips, in smoothies.
Flaxseeds from your local market are extremely affordable, and they are a perfect source of fiber and plant based protein, providing 3g and 2g per tablespoon respectively. They have also been shown to be extremely heart protective as they lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure simultaneously.
How to Eat: add to smoothies, add to yogurt, add to morning oatmeal.
Olive oil is central to the Mediterranean diet, which is considered the healthiest eating pattern in the world with the most benefits on our bodies. Olive oil is rich in a number of antioxidants, especially vitamin E, which is why it has been proven to reduce inflammation and cancer risks, particularly breast cancer.
How to Eat: Salad dressings, pasta sauce bases, labneh with olive oil drizzle.
Bell peppers will give incredible color to any meal you add them too, but just one cup will also provide your body with all of your daily vitamin C requirements and only 45 calories. Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. A compound called capascin in the vegetable is thought to ease inflammation and reduce bad cholesterol.
How to Eat: Add to stir-fries, pasta dishes, meat and chicken dishes.
A traditional grain that can be found in the most local of Egyptian markets, this small food comes with big nutritional claims. Freekeh is a protein and fiber rich grain available to us, and is also high in iron to keep our blood cells healthy.
How to Eat: Cook in batches and add to salads, quinoa porridge, use as rice or pasta alternative.
Gone are the days of low-carb diets, 2016 is coming bearing lots of good carbohydrates, sweet potatoes being the star of the list. Sweet potatoes contain unrivalled levels of vitamin A, and release sugar into our bloodstream much more slowly than normal potatoes. The high content of Vitamin B6 in sweet potatoes means they are a heart-healthy food option too.
How to Eat: Enjoy on their own roasted or baked, sweet potato fries, add to salads.