The Cheapest Health Foods

I don’t have a lot of money to overindulge in expensive super foods, dietary supplements or pre-portioned weight-loss programs but I know what works and delivers results.  The nutrients found in all foods and drinks provide nourishment for the body. This nourishment is in the form of:

  • Substances which provide energy
  • Building blocks for bone, muscle, organs, hormones and blood
  • Substances needed for processes to occur in the body (like digestion)
  • Substances that protect the body

Nutrients are drawn from a wide variety of foods and the more varied your diet, the more likely you are to obtain all the nutrients you need.  The 4 key nutrients recommended by the daily intake guide are fat, saturated fats, sugars and sodium (salt).  Additional nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals which play many crucial roles in the body’s function and wellbeing, but do not provide energy (kilojoules).

Some nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Avocados
  • Chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)
  • Cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto)
  • Lentils, peas
  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts
  • Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
  • Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna
  • Lean beef, lamb, venison
  • Chicken, turkey

All of these foods are important for building muscle, trimming fat and maintaining good health but some can cost more than you might be willing to spend.  These are my top ten cheaper food ideas that have gotten me through my college years and kept me in the same jeans since high school:

  1. Canned tuna/salmon/sardines (I mix the meat w/ spicy brown mustard)
  2. Bananas, apples and large bags of frozen mixed berries–> the mixed berries are great for smoothies and disguise the taste of added vegetables like fresh spinach leaves
  3. Eggs and Bacon–>Eat one egg and one piece of bacon for breakfast
  4. Turkey and Chicken–>Low sodium turkey lunch meat and larger packages of frozen chicken lasts you about two weeks, delivers protein and keeps you full compared to empty carbohydrates and sugars
  5. Whole wheat bread
  6. Skim Milk
  7. Water
  8. Generic low-fat yogurt
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Canned or frozen vegetables
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