Cheapest Healthy Food: 10 Inexpensive Ways To Eat Well

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    May 23, 2013 3:11 AM GMT
    The Huffington Post Canada | By Arti Patel

    So what is considered "cheap" eating? Everyone's financial situations and accessibility methods are different, but McGuire says spending less than $20 a week to eat healthy is impossible. One 2011 British Columbia report found the average cost of feeding a family of four per month was $868, or roughly $200 a week.

    Saving just $20 on your weekly grocery bill can add up to more than $1,000 ever year.

    Superfoods like quinoa or acai berries can be pricey, like fresh fish or some cheeses, but they can sometimes be bought on sale, McGuire says.

    "The key to a good diet is looking at it overall, not looking at one “superfood” to keep you healthy."

    Legumes: "Buying legumes dry and cooking them yourself is economical and very nutritious," McGuire says. Legumes also make a nutritious alternative to meat and are packed with protein, iron and B vitamins. But unlike meats, they're a very high source of fibre and are extremely low in fat.

    Sprouted Grain Breads: "Sprouted grain breads contain no flour, making them higher in fibre and more nutritional than other breads," McGuire says. And because this type of bread is low on the glycemic index, it can help you manage your blood sugar levels and weight. But often, this bread can get pricey, so make sure you check out local markets for a cheaper price.

    Peanut Butter: "Natural peanut butter has a high level of healthy fats (monounsaturated) and provides good quality protein," McGuire says. Peanut butter also has B vitamins, magnesium, folate, and dietary fibre in every scoop. "Have it on sprouted grain toast with a banana for a balanced, economical meal."

    Eggs: Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and B12, and won't hurt your pockets, McGuire says. The egg yolk itself also contains iron and vitamin E.

    Oatmeal: "A steaming bowl of fresh cooked oatmeal is the perfect way to start off your day, especially if you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes," McGuire says. Fibre in oats is known to lower cholesterol and to help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. To save money, buy your oats in bulk and try to stay away from packages high in sugar.

    Plain Yogurt: Plain yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients — and it's cheap. "It does not contain all the sugar or artificial sweeteners contained in 'no added sugar' fruited yogurts," McGuire says. Greek yogurt, however, has the added benefit of additional protein. If you like sweetened yogurt but not the excessive sugar, try adding a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to your cup.

    Feta Cheese: Feta cheese contains protein and calcium, but it's also high in saturated fats. "The benefit of feta over other cheeses is that it is very flavourful and, therefore, the tendency is to use a small amount to add flavour to salads and pastas," McGuire says.

    Kale: Kale is one of the healthiest and cheapest vegetables around. "Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale, giving it both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in a way that gives kale a leading dietary role," McGuire says.

    Frozen Vegetables: It can get expensive to buy all your vegetables fresh and ripe. "Off-season frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients," McGuire says. However, if you are buying frozen veggies, make sure you eat them right away. "Over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Steam rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins. Use the water from your steamed vegetables when making rice to reabsorb the nutrients."

    Bananas: "Because they are one of the best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function, bananas can help to prevent heart disease," McGuire says.
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    May 23, 2013 12:39 PM GMT
    Unintended saidSome good points thanks but one problem is that when people buy in bulk, they tend to eat to much.

    That's why it is said, "When you go for grocery shopping, don't go with an empty stomach"
    it is scientifically proven that when we go to shopping, usually after meals, we tend to buy less food items or we buy the items only that are needed.
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    May 29, 2013 7:39 PM GMT
    What's also extremely important is that you DO go grocery shopping and resist just picking up dinner at one of those Whole Foods types of places. They're almost as expensive as eating out at a restaurant.
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    May 29, 2013 11:16 PM GMT
    Cool. I eat many of the OPs suggested foods regularly already, and I'm not even trying.

    Breakfast is always either:
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    May 30, 2013 12:11 AM GMT
    I eat most of those things already. Why do I spend more on food than the average family of 4???
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    May 30, 2013 12:22 AM GMT
    allatonce saidI eat most of those things already. Why do I spend more on food than the average family of 4???