There are many ways to eat cheap. We have tons of fast food chains that offer cheap meals. But how many of those cheap meals actually give your body the nutrition it needs? Here are a few suggestions of things you can buy at your local grocery store that are not only cheap but very healthy.
1. Oats: Those of you that know me know that I love oatmeal. Oats are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and can also lower cholesterol. A 42-ounce container of store brand oats costs around 4 dollars and each container contains about 30 servings, based on a serving of 1/2-cup of dry oats. So for about 4 dollars you can buy a month’s worth of breakfasts. Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 5 grams protein.
2. Coffee: Coffee contains beneficial antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
3. Tofu: Tofu is an inexpensive protein source that is high in B vitamins and iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many meals.
4. Eggs: Are one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a great source of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent age-related eye problems. Also Store-Brand Egg Substitute is great for making quick omelets, or as an ingredient in rice. Egg substitute contains only 30 calories and has 6 grams of protein, 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin B12, 6% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 4% of the Daily Value for vitamins D and E per serving.
5. Sardines: Not the most tasty item out there but Sardines are relatively cheap and are filled with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. And like most fish they don’t accumulate mercury. Tuna is also a great, but due to levels of mercury detected in canned tuna it would probably be best for pregnant women to avoid canned tuna altogether and to choose lower-mercury seafood instead, like sardines.
6. Lowfat Milk: Is super high in protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, niacin, and calcium.
7. Nuts: Are high in fat but also have a lot of unsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Nuts are good sources of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and protein.
8. Apples: Are a good source of pectin and Vitamin C.
9. Bananas: Are high in potassium and fiber containing 9 grams for just one.
10. Watermelon: Watermelons are over 90 percent water so it’s a very easy way to hydrate yourself and also get Vitamin C, potassium, and the antioxidant lycopene.
11. Beans: Are a great source of protein and fiber. Garbanzo Beans are not only high in fiber but iron, folate, and manganese, as well and may help reduce cholesterol levels. Canned Refried Beans contain 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 4% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron per serving. Soybeans contain 90 calories, 10 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 10% of the Daily Value for iron, and 6% of the Daily Value for calcium per serving. So if you are not particularly fond of one type of bean you have many choices and these are just a few.
12. Brown Rice: Is Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, this gluten-free rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, and B vitamins.
13. Potatoes: If you eat the whole potato, skin and all they contain about half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and contain 168 calories, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 10% daily value for iron, and 25% daily value for potassium. Sweet potatoes also are a good source of beta carotene. Potatoes also can be used in tons of different ways to make tasty and healthy meals.
14. Beets: Contain natural sugars that make them sweet and they are full of folate, iron, and antioxidants.
15. Vegetables: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium. Broccoli by its self contains tons of nutrients like calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Also broccoli has phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Butternut Squash has 5 grams of fiber per half cup and good amounts of Vitamin A and C. I know that not many people like spinach, but it has lots of Vitamin C and iron. A 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid. Kale contains vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Also a canned or jarred Marinara Sauce has around 90 calories, 2 grams fiber, 15% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.
16. Whole-Wheat Bread and Pasta: (2 slices): About 120 calories, 6 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber. Also Whole Wheat Pita Bread is a great alternative. One pita contains 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein. Whole Grain Pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates, high in protein, B vitamins and fiber.