How to Take Care of Your Diet without Breaking the Bank

You want to enhance your diet and start taking care of your wellbeing, but healthy foods are so often the most expensive option. Why should you have to choose between your health and your financial wellness? According to a recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eating healthily can be fairly cheap – it just depends on the choices you make.


1. Fresh fruits and vegetables: ‘Fruits and vegetables pack a powerful nutrition punch,’ says registered and licensed dietician Mandy Seay, author of Your Best Health. ‘They contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide benefits for the entire body.’ This means that you need to go for the least pricey produce, which, in the case of vegetables, means potatoes, lettuce, eggplant, greens, summer squash, tomatillos, and carrots. For the most economical fruits, try watermelon, bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, and peaches. To further reduce your costs while maximising on nutrition and flavour, make sure you shop for produce that is in season.


2. Frozen and tinned fruits and vegetables: While you may not even deign to consider frozen and tinned fruits and vegetables, they’re a lot better than their reputation. According to Seay, ‘While given a reputation of having a lesser nutrient value, canned fruits and vegetables can be just as healthy and economical (if not more so) as their fresh counterparts.’


3. Oats: On the nutrition rockstar stage, oats are the headliners. Seay notes, ‘These whole grains are low in calories, high in fibre and protein, and are a rich source of many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant chemicals. Oats offer protection against disease and reduce health issues that may already exist like high cholesterol or blood sugar. Oats are readily available, easy to incorporate into your diet, and inexpensive.’


4. Beans: If you want a low-fat protein, make beans your new best friends. These delicious and economical wonders – whether dried or canned – can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. Beans can help to lower your cholesterol, reduce your risks of heart disease and cancer, stabilise your blood sugar, relieve your constipation, assist with your weight management or weight loss programme and lower your blood pressure. Where have you bean all my life? (Sorry, I had to.)


5. Tea: As if you needed another reason to have a brew! Still, if you’re interested, when it comes to your health this low-cost beverage is worth every penny. Seay comments that tea ‘helps lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk for stroke. Tea is also an antiviral, anti-cavity, and anti-allergy powerhouse.’


6. Nuts: ‘Nuts reduce the risks for coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other causes of mortality,’ Seay asserts. ‘All nuts contain some sort of health-promoting property. Eat a variety of them to enjoy all of the nutrition they have to offer. Here are just a few things you’ll find inside them: plant-derived omega-3s fatty acids, fibre, protein, vitamin D, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin, folate, zinc, and antioxidants.’ Plus, they’re great value per serving.


7. Yoghurt: Yoghurt is a cheap sweet option anyway – albeit dependant on flavour and brand –but if you really want to save money you can always make your own yoghurt at home. Seay adds, ‘Yoghurt contains live active cultures, protein, calcium, and B vitamins. This super food has anticancer properties, lowers cholesterol, and wards off unfriendly bacteria while promoting and preserving intestinal health.’


8. Brown rice: ‘Brown rice, which contains a number of nutrients and antioxidants, is a whole grain that has been shown to reduce diabetes risks, assist with weight control, help lower and control blood sugar, and possibly inhibit breast and colon cancers,’ says Seay.

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