Tag Archives: Energy

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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Detox Diet Vs. Clean Eating

“The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology,” says Frank Sacks, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. “Your organs and immune system handle those duties, no matter what you eat”. A detox diet may be a quick and temporary solution for losing weight but you’re likely to gain the weight back after you go off of it, as with any extreme diet.   I’ve heard of detox diets like drinking nothing but water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper for a week straight but to not consume any calories or nutrients all week sounds absurd to me.  This is the week everyone should be eating their healthiest, avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of liquids to avoid bloating, cellulite, extra pounds and thin skin.

So rather than invest in a diet where you practically starve yourself, try a clean eating or organic diet for the week.  Shape Magazine’s Cynthia Sass recommends this seven day clean eating challenge to bring you ‘skyrocketing energy’, weight loss, better control over your appetite and yes, better looking skin.  Follow these 5 simple rules to slim down and feel your best before spring break:

  1. Eat only whole foods: If a food contains any ingredient you can’t pronounce or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it for the week you eat clean.  Ex: Blueberries and oats instead of a blueberry muffin
  2. Keep meals simple.  Your body only needs sources like whole grain, lean protein and healthy fat during each meal.  Ex: Veggies and shrimp over rice
  3. Eat slower.  Put your fork or spoon down during every bite and actually enjoy the different tastes and textures instead of inhaling your food like you’re in a hotdog race.
  4. Eat on a regular schedule.  Sass suggests not letting more than 4 hours go by between each meal to better regulate your digestive system, blood sugar, insulin levels and appetite.
  5. Listen to your body.  Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

You’ll thank yourself for eating healthy all week when you have a slim stomach on the beach and more energy to cram spring break activities.