With the economy still down in the dumps, saving every little cent counts. Fortunately, pinching pennies doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good nutrition. I’ve compiled a list of 5 budget-friendly foods that give you the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Not only are these foods packed with protein, vitamins and other nutrients, but they also can be found at your local supermarket for relatively low prices. So the next time you head to the grocery store, make sure you stock up on these super-healthy treats!
1. Eggs – Eggs are the ultimate breakfast food because of their nutritional content and versatility.Packed with nutrients like vitamin A and an assortment of B vitamins as well as calcium and protein, eggs can be cooked in a number of ways like scrambled, over-easy and sunny-side-up. You can put them in omelets and plenty of other delicious dishes! For around $2, you can get a dozen eggs at your local store. If you want to avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol found in eggs, stick to egg whites or egg substitutes, which are slightly more expensive.
2. Beans – Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart/the more you eat, the more you… well, you know how the song goes. By adding beans to your diet, you’ll lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. Why? The fiber found in beans has been shown to lower cholesterol, keep you regular and stabilize your blood sugar (some beans more than others — check out kidney beans and black beans). Also, if you’re vegetarian, beans are an inexpensive source for protein.
3. Bananas – This fruit doesn’t monkey around when it comes to your health. Potassium, fiber and B vitamins are just a few of the nutrients you’ll find in a single banana. Eat it by itself or cut one up and put it on your morning cereal, protein shake or yogurt. The natural sugars in a banana can calm your sweet tooth and won’t derail your diet — one medium banana has about 90 calories. One benefit of bananas that isn’t as widely known is its tryptophan content. That same amino acid in your Thanksgiving turkey that relaxes you after the yearly meal is in a banana — albeit, not as much. But if you’re looking for a mental boost, snacking on some yellow fruit can help you calm down.
4. Sweet Potato – If you only eat these for Thanksgiving, you’re missing out on year-round great taste and nutrition! An antioxidant powerhouse, sweet potatoes help reduce inflammation and reduce your risk for certain cancers. One sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement for vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision and healthy skin. They also rank low on the glycemic index, so your blood sugar won’t spike immediately after consumption.
5. Broccoli – Broccoli has gotten a bad rap. It’s a super-healthy treat, but it’s also not very tasty. Luckily, there are several things you can to make it a more compelling food. But first, the benefits: vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, potassium, protein, iron… the list goes on. To make broccoli more interesting, toss some into a pasta (whole wheat, of course!) or an omelet. Mix some into a soup or sprinkle pepper and other seasonings on it. There are tons of things you can do to broccoli
Just be creative! Beat your budget and top your health!