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23 Foods That Are Healthy and Cheap

23 Foods That Are Healthy and Cheap

People often ask how they can eat a nutritious diet while keeping their grocery bill low. The good news is eating healthily and eating cheaply are not mutually exclusive! In fact, they often go hand in hand. It is the processed foods and eating out at restaurants that expand our waistline and our debt, but if you buy these 20 foods, not only will you be leading a healthier lifestyle, but also your bank account will thank you too!

1. Yogurt

yoghurt, bacteria, healthy

    We all know milk does a body good, but did you know Yogurt has all the benefits of milk. It is a great source of calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth, and contains protein, which helps to rebuild muscles, plus active cultures that boost germ-fighting bacteria promoting a healthier gut.

    2. Apples

    apples, red apples, green apples, fruit, healthy

      As the saying goes an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it’s a well-deserved reputation! Apples are a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C, cancer-fighting antioxidants and lots of fiber, all for under 100 calories, making apples a wonderfully cheap and healthy food item to add to your grocery list.

      3. Bananas

      potassium, banana

        Bananas are not only a cheap and tasty snack, they also pack in more than 360 milligrams of potassium per fruit—and since potassium’s job is to “keep your heart beating” it’s probably a good thing to eat more!

        4. Strawberries

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        berry, strawberry

          Strawberries are an amazing source of folate, contain more than 100 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and are high in antioxidants.

          5. Blueberries

          blueberries, healthy,

            Blueberries are probably the healthiest fruit you can eat. These blue superheroes have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fruit: Blueberries can help lower blood pressure, neutralize free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body, improve brain health, have been proven to preserve vision and are a natural anti-depressant. Not bad value for $5 per pint.

            6. Tomatoes

            tomato, tomatoes, red,

              Tomatoes are not only inexpensive, but also easily available everywhere. The carotene in tomatoes protects your body from skin damage, the lycopene makes your skin less sensitive to UV damage, and for men they have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

              7. Carrots

              carrots, vegetables, heart, health

                Easy to eat, cheap to buy, and packed with vitamins A, C and K, folate and fiber. Carrots are a great addition to any meal or snack.

                8. Spinach

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                spinach, vegetables

                  Spinach offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and antioxidants, meaning it helps prevent cancer, promotes strong bones and healthy skin. It is no wonder spinach is Popeye’s food of choice!

                  9. Beets

                  beets, vegetables,

                    Beets are a nutritional powerhouse! They are packed with folate, fiber and vitamins galore!

                    10. Chicken

                    chicken, health, protein

                      Of course, I am talking about chicken breasts, not breaded chicken nuggets! But at under $3 per pound chicken breast is a great cheap food choice that’s filled with healthy, lean protein.

                      11. Canned tuna

                      tuna, fish, healthy, heart

                        Canned water-packed tuna is an inexpensive, easily available, low-calorie food choice filled with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium and vitamin D giving it many health benefits from improving blood vessel function to boosting weight loss.

                        12. Olive oil

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                        olive oil, oils

                          Swap out the mayo for two tablespoons of olive oil. Just two tablespoons per day offers a host of health benefits including improved bone health and brain function. Read more about the benefits in this study published in the journal Chemical Neuroscience.

                          13. Garlic

                          garlic, vegetable

                            Okay, so it makes you less attractive to kiss for a few hours, but it’s full of antioxidants that promote heart health, reduces the risk of some cancers, and improves memory function….so it’s probably worth it! At about 30 cents per bulb it’s a great good choice to add to your grocery list.

                            14. Chia Seeds

                            chia seeds, chia, seeds

                              Believed by the Aztecs to be a miracle food, Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories, they’re loaded with antioxidants, high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, and have been show to improve exercise performance as much as a sports drinks. Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet and can affordably be added to your grocery list.

                              15. Nuts

                              nuts, health, healthy, heart, almonds, pistacioa

                                Nuts are an affordable, protein-packed, heart-healthy snack that can increase your longevity.

                                16. Lentils

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                                lentils healthy, heart, vegetable

                                  Lentils sometimes have a reputation as some sort of hippie food but that’s only because they are a great protein alternative to beef and therefore perfect for vegetarians or those who wish to limit their red-meat intake. They are a filling food rich with antioxidants and a good, cheap, and healthy food source.

                                  17. Brown rice

                                  brown rice, rice, healthy, grain

                                    Rich in selenium, which reduces the risk of developing cancer and arthritis, high in manganese which helps the body synthesize fats, and also promotes weight loss since its fiber content keeps bowel function efficient! Brown rice is good, cheap, and a healthy food choice.

                                    18. Quinoa

                                    quinioa, healthy, heart,

                                      Okay, I understand Quinoa can be hard to pronounce (it’s KEEN-wah) but that doesn’t stop it being a superfood. At $4 per box, it’s a little more than brown rice, but it’s still a cheap and affordable addition to your weekly grocery list. It is packed with fiber and protein, and contains nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on its own.

                                      19. Eggs

                                      eggs, healthy, heart

                                        Eggs are another great source of protein, and in fact the cheapest source of protein you’re going to find. At only 20 cents per egg they are incredibly affordable, and can be prepared in any number of healthy ways.  When you’re in need of some protein, eggs are a great quick, delicious, cheap and healthy fix.

                                        20. Dark chocolate

                                        chocolate, dark chocolate, healthy

                                          I had to finish this list of foods that are healthy and cheap with something fun! Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively impact your health and it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet, so at the end of a tough week, go ahead and enjoy a nice piece of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate!

                                          Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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                                          Last Updated on July 28, 2020

                                          14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                          14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                          Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

                                          What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

                                          The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

                                          Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

                                          It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

                                          Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

                                          In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

                                          Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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                                          Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

                                          1. Quinoa

                                          GI: 53

                                          Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

                                          2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

                                          GI: 50

                                          Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

                                          3. Corn on the Cob

                                          GI: 48

                                          Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

                                          4. Bananas

                                          GI: 47

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                                          Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

                                          They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

                                          5. Bran Cereal

                                          GI: 43

                                          Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

                                          6. Natural Muesli

                                          GI: 40

                                          Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

                                          7. Apples

                                          GI: 40

                                          Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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                                          8. Apricots

                                          GI: 30

                                          Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

                                          Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

                                          9. Kidney Beans

                                          GI: 29

                                          Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

                                          10. Barley

                                          GI: 22

                                          Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

                                          Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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                                          11. Raw Nuts

                                          GI: 20

                                          Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

                                          12. Carrots

                                          GI: 16

                                          Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

                                          13. Greek Yogurt

                                          GI: 12

                                          Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

                                          14. Hummus

                                          GI: 6

                                          When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

                                          Bottom Line

                                          If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

                                          More Tips on Eating Healthy

                                          Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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