If you’ve ever felt that healthy eating just isn’t doable on your budget or find that nutritious foods aren’t available in your area, you’re not alone. Products advertised as “healthy’” or nutritionally superior are often expensive and only found in certain stores, usually in high-income areas.
But, your idea of what’s “healthy” may be a bit skewed.
This is because trendy products, like overpriced green juices and protein bars, are marketed as nutritionally superior to inexpensive underdogs like good old frozen greens and eggs.
Plus, foods touted as “superfoods” like kale and sweet potatoes overshadow other nutritious and sometimes more affordable options like cabbage and regular potatoes.
This language can make people think that in order to take care of their bodies and follow a healthy diet, purchasing certain foods and products that aren’t always affordable or available to them are a must.
Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s entirely possible to create a nutritious diet no matter your budget, geographical location, or cultural food preferences.
In fact, some of the most nutritious foods are widely available and affordable. We see you onions and frozen greens!
Here’re eight delicious and affordable foods you can find almost anywhere.
Dried and canned beans aren’t the most exciting food, but what they lack in trendiness they make up for in health benefits.
Legumes like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils are packed with fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting plant compounds — everything you could want in a food!
Plus, beans and lentils are typically inexpensive and can be found in most grocery and convenience stores. They can be incorporated into most every diet, too.
Try adding beans and lentils to rice dishes, salads, and soups. Just be sure to watch out for sodium in canned beans. It’s best to choose “no salt added” products if they’re available, but you can also give them a good rinse before cooking!
Not only that, but frozen fruit is typically more affordable and there’s often a greater selection of fruits available in frozen form compared to fresh. This means that you’ll be able to incorporate a number of different fruits into your diet, no matter where you live.
Though some fruits get demonized because they have a higher carb count than others, it’s important to know that all fruits are healthy! This includes citrus fruits, grapes, berries, apples, bananas, and mango.
One thing to watch out for when purchasing fruit products is added sugar, which can be added to dried and canned fruits.
Use frozen berries or mango in oatmeal or unsweetened yogurt for a punch of flavor.
Garlic and onions are a staple in many diets, but they seldom get the attention they deserve.
Garlic and onions are types of allium vegetables that offer a number of health benefits thanks to their high content of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
Unlike many vegetables, garlic and onions are widely available and affordable. Add chopped garlic and onions to recipes like omelets, dressings, grain dishes, and pastas for some added flavor.
Looking for a way to boost your intake of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds without breaking the bank? Consider cocoa powder!
Cocoa powder is one of the best sources of phenolic antioxidants. It’s especially rich in phenolic compounds called flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Unlike trendy and pricey “superfood” powders, cocoa powder is inexpensive and can be found in most grocery stores. It can add a rich chocolatey taste to smoothies, oatmeal, and other dishes. Just be sure to purchase unsweetened cocoa powder for the most benefits.
Canned seafood like sardines, tuna, and salmon are much less expensive than fresh and are
Because it’s shelf-stable, commercially canned seafood can be kept in your pantry for up to
Canned seafood like tuna and salmon can be made into tasty seafood salads that can be served on grains, greens, or bread.
Sardines make a nutritious topping for salads and can add an easy source of protein to most any dish.
If you have a hard time finding high-quality fresh vegetables in your area, try stocking your freezer with frozen veggies. They last much longer than fresh vegetables — around 10-18 months in the freezer — and can be prepared quickly when you’re tight on time.
You can find a variety of frozen vegetables like carrots, greens, broccoli, and cauliflower at most stores. Just be sure to choose plain frozen vegetables as some can be coated with seasonings and sauces that are high in calories, sodium, and added sugar.
Potatoes are often overshadowed by more eye-catching starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and butternut squash and are often served in less healthy ways – like French fries – so they get a bad rap.
But the truth is that potatoes are
They’re also inexpensive and widely available, making them a healthy choice for everyone. Try preparing potatoes in nutritious ways like boiling them and tossing them with fresh herbs, mustard, spices, and olive oil to create a healthy potato salad.
Tomatoes and tomato products are some of the best dietary sources of lycopene, a potent carotenoid plant pigment that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Tomato products like unsweetened marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes are affordable and easy-to-use. It’s best to choose products free from salt and added sugar whenever possible.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. And, adding vitamins and nutrients to your meals can be tasty!
Try adding a few of the foods listed above to your weekly meals for an easy and affordable way to take care of your body from the inside out.