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10 Cheap And Healthy Foods
Let’s face it. When you’re hungry and time-crunched, going to a fast food restaurant or reaching for another slice of that frozen pizza is tempting. But with a little bit of preparation and planning, you can make food choices that are better for your body and your budget.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are many foods readily available at your local supermarket that offer plenty of nutritional bang for the buck. The next time you go shopping, look for the following 10 foods. By stocking up your kitchen with these key items, you’ll be able to easily make a variety of inexpensive and wholesome dishes and snacks that your family will love.
- Bananas – Bananas are an economical way to give your body a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. They are the perfect go-to snack for any season and delicious in smoothies, muffins, and yogurt.
- Beans – Beans, both canned and dried, are loaded with fiber and protein and cost less than $1.00 per serving. Canned beans are more convenient to prepare, but dried beans cost less than canned and usually have no sodium. With so many bean varieties – black beans, red beans, black-eyed beans, cannellini, pinto, chick peas, and many others – you are sure to find a legume you’ll love.
- Brown rice – Whether served as a side dish or as a main course, brown rice is a nourishing grain that is high in fiber. Unlike white rice, brown rice still has the side hull and bran which is rich in lots of nutrients like fiber, protein, calcium, and potassium.
- Canned tuna – Add a satisfying serving of protein and omega-3 fats to your salads and casseroles with canned tuna. Inexpensive and easy to prepare, canned tuna is a great kitchen staple that can be used in a variety of different ways. Canned light tuna, usually made from skipjack tuna, has less mercury than white so this might be a healthier choice for you if you eat tuna frequently.
- Carrots – Whether you choose regular sized carrots or the convenience of baby carrots, you can’t go wrong by incorporating this veggie into your diet. Carrots are packed with beta-carotene that coverts to vitamin A and supports eye health. They are a low calorie snack — try dipping them in hummus — and make a tasty side dish when roasted or sautéed.
- Eggs – Just because eggs contain cholesterol doesn’t mean that they aren’t a healthy food. In fact, eggs are very nutritious, low in calories, and have been shown in studies to raise HDL (good) cholesterol. They are an excellent source of protein as well as a good source of amino acids, vitamin A, folic acid, choline, and other nutrients. If you do want to avoid cholesterol, you can stick with just egg whites, but the yolk is actually the most nutritious – and flavorful – part of the egg. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, eggs are a versatile and “eggs-traordinary” addition to your diet.
- Frozen spinach – Fresh spinach is best, but frozen spinach is a pretty close second since it goes through a flash-freezing process allowing the spinach to retain its vitamin C. Frozen spinach is typically cheaper than fresh and won’t spoil. Store a bag or box in your freezer and use it in omelets, soups, pasta sauces, dips, and much more.
- Oats – Oats are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and contain iron, fiber, and thiamine. When it comes to oats, most people think of breakfast oatmeal or oatmeal cookies, but it is a versatile grain for so much more. Use them in muffins, breads, yogurt, granola recipes, and even meatloaf!
- Peanut butter – Rich in protein, vitamins E, B3, and B6, peanut butter is pretty nutritious. It also has fiber and a good amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Spread on bread or served with apples, peanut butter can make a filling lunch or snack. If you want to cut down on sugar, try buying natural peanut butter.
- Sweet potatoes – Delicious and versatile sweet potatoes give your body a boost of the antioxidant beta carotene and are a good source of B6 and vitamins C and D. Think beyond the high calorie sweet potato pie and try them baked, mashed, roasted, grilled, or steamed.