When it comes to eating affordable healthy food, it may seem like a challenge with today’s food prices rising, along with growing health concerns. Just eating can seem like a chore at times when trying to find a happy medium between your budget and your health. Yet, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, there are a list of foods that you simply can’t go wrong with and that won’t break your budget. These foods are also rich in antioxidants and compounds that fight sickness and fatigue, aid in heart health, achieving a healthy weight and enhanced brain function, and they give you a beautiful complexion. These affordable health foods are not only inexpensive in conventional form, but also inexpensive in organic form. I always recommend buying them organic whenever you can to avoid chemicals, dyes, pesticides and herbicides that interfere with their taste and nutrition. Pick up some of these affordable healthy foods next time you shop. They’ll give you a huge health boost and make you feel great, all while being incredibly delicious and sustainable too!
Berries have been a tried and true affordable healthy food for years now. That’s not changing either! To save on berries in the off season buy frozen berries to keep in the freezer, or when they are in season, buy them fresh in bulk and freeze for a constant supply throughout the year. Berries are a food you should always buy organic, but don’t worry about which ones you choose. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are all great for you! They are rich in antioxidants, low in sugar, high in fiber and contain no fat. They’re also filling, and amazing for your heart.
Kale is a major game changer in the world of affordable healthy foods, girls! Everyone has caught onto the kale phenomenon by now, but what you may not know is just how affordable kale is, especially organic kale. Kale is rich in chlorophyll to cleanse the body, rich in iron, magnesium, fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, and rich in plant protein as well. Kale is one of the best foods to eat for a healthy heart, strong bones, healthy digestive tract, and it’s great for your eye sight, weight and your brain function. Toss some in a smoothie, saute some with some coconut oil, or shred some raw in a salad. Either way, kale is one superfood that is worth your money!
Before kale became the nutritional all-star, spinach was the leafy green to eat. That hasn’t changed either. Spinach is actually higher in protein and lower in calories than kale. With only 30 calories and 5 grams of protein per cup, you can literally have 15 grams of plant protein for only 60 calories, which is insanely great! Spinach also tastes amazing. I love using it raw in salads and putting it into omelets and smoothies. Buy organic spinach since spinach is one of the most contaminated foods of all foods, just to be safe.
4. Chia Seeds
I always keep chia seeds in my fridge or freezer because per serving, they are incredibly affordable, and so filling! Chia seeds are one of my favorite foods to eat for energy, stress-relief and a healthy digestive tract. As a bonus, they also keep your skin, hair and nails looking fabulous thanks to their mineral profile and their Omega 3 content. Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber, so when they gel up, they help to remove wastes from the body and energize you for hours to come. I buy raw organic chia seeds and you can buy the black or white chia seeds. There is no nutritional difference or taste difference whatsoever.
5. Flax Seeds
Just because chia is so amazing doesn’t mean we should neglect flax seeds, which have been a proven fabulous food staple for years in the world of healthy eating. Flax seeds are one of the most beneficial foods for heart health, a healthy weight, brain healthy and hair, skin and nail health. Their healthy fats come from Omega 3 fats, which have been linked to reduced depression, preventing heart disease, keeping skin clear and wrinkle-free, and helping your hair and nails to grow. They also contain fiber that keeps your digestive tract regular, and they’re not badly priced. Always buy whole flax seeds and grind them yourself at home. Pre-ground flax seeds often go rancid before you end up eating them if they sit on store shelves for over 90 days. I buy raw flax seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder in small amounts and keep them in a dark colored container in my fridge or freezer. Light and air can make flax go rancid quicker, which is why storing them in a colored container is best. Toss them in your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, salads, whatever you like! Just don’t eat them whole or they’ll be excreted before you absorb the nutrients.
6. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is a serious health food, ladies! I know you’re up for that kind of news, right? Cocoa is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods of all foods, and it's affordable! Regular cocoa or raw cacao contains the most nutrients, rather than Dutch-processed, which is processed with an alkali substances that gives it a richer taste and lowers the fat content. Dutch-processed cocoa is still great for you though, and I actually prefer the taste of it over regular cocoa since it is richer and less acidic. It is a little easier on your stomach if you’re sensitive to acidic foods, but all types of cocoa are excellent for you. Cocoa reduces blood pressure, keeps your heart healthy, prevents depression, and can enhance the quality of your skin! If you can afford organic, great, but you don’t have to buy organic to get the health benefits. I like Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, which is really affordable and incredibly delicious. Chocolate smoothie, anyone?
Oh the magical benefits of the might quinoa seed! Did you know quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain? That’s right! It’s known as a pseudograin because it cooks up like a grain and can be used wherever grains are served. It is in fact a seed, however, which makes it more tolerable to people who are sensitive to grains. In my opinion, quinoa is such an affordable superfood. It is rich in protein, amino acids, fiber, phosphorous for bone health, magnesium for nervous system function and colon health, and it is low in fat. Quinoa contains more fiber than oatmeal and it tastes incredibly sweet and nutty. I like the red kind, which is fun to cook with and slightly sweeter than white quinoa, but all are equally nutritious! Use quinoa wherever you would use rice or other grains. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook up and all you need to do is rinse it a little before you cook it.
Garlic is one of the most powerful, affordable foods you could get your pretty little hands on and it is SO good for you! Garlic is part of the allium family of plants, which also includes onions and fennel. These foods are rich in sulfur, which makes them wonderful for your liver to help detoxify toxins from the body, and they aid in immune function, digestive health and they are great for your mood! Garlic is also rich in fiber and low in calories. Toss a clove in your salads, soups, homemade dressings and more. Either way, garlic is one of the cheapest health foods you can buy and it makes almost anything taste good. A head of garlic will last you about two months if you use a clove a week, and it only costs around 30 or 50 cents a head.
Just like garlic, onions are a mastermind in the world of health and affordability. They are rich in sulfur like garlic that is amazing for your liver. Onions and garlic are great when combined for optimal flavor and Vitamin C content as well. Onions actually aid as a diuretic, helping to remove wastes like fluids and mucus from the body, and they help to increase the health of your skin by ridding it of toxins as well. I love onions in soup when I’m not feeling so hot, or my joints ache after exercise. They reduce inflammation and fatigue and I always feel better after having some. Saute some and add some to your next cooked dish, or toss a few raw red onions slices onto a salad for a pretty appeal. Just be sure to carry a breath mint!
Each of us have our own special power foods that we choose to eat while maintaining a budget. I always love hearing what other people keep as their must-haves. A few others of mine are almond milk, cinnamon and hummus. What are your favorite healthy affordable foods?