There are a lot of healthy foods out there, most of which are only a fleeting trend. These five healthy eats are not only good for your body, but also your wallet!
Apples are inexpensive, portable, low in calories and packed with nutrition. There are many different apple varieties to choose from depending on your taste and texture preference. One medium-sized apple contains almost 15 percent of your daily vitamin C and 20 percent of your daily fiber requirements, which helps keep your cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems healthy. Apples are also a good source of potassium and antioxidant-rich phytochemicals. To keep cost low and serving sizes in check, buy the bagged apples instead of individual ones. Store apples in your fridge to prevent them from becoming mushy and use lemon juice to prevent browning once cut.
Bananas can be purchased individually or in bunches. Small to medium bananas are equal to a half cup of fruit, and one large banana is equivalent to 1 cup of fruit. Cost, like most food items, has increased, but you can easily purchase a pound of bananas, which contains about three to four medium-sized bananas, for less than $1. A medium-sized banana contains about 100 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of fiber and over 400 milligrams of potassium. Bananas are also loaded with Vitamin B6, a component that plays an important role in nerve function, immunity, red blood cell production and the metabolism of proteins. The more protein you eat, the more B6 you need.
Beans are in the legume family and most often found dry, which is the cheapest option, or in canned form. There are many different varieties of beans, such as red, pink, black, white, pinto, and kidney to name a few. Despite the many different types of beans, they contain a similar nutrient profile. Beans are considered nutritional powerhouses, as they are loaded with complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and antioxidant rich phytochemicals. A quarter-cup serving of canned beans counts as a protein equivalent and costs just over 10 cents per serving. If you choose canned beans over dry, which takes much more time to prepare, opt for the low-sodium or no salt added varieties.
Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that’s available all year long. It is a versatile veggie and can be eaten raw, baked, boiled, fermented, pickled, steamed and stir-fried. There are also many different varieties and colors to choose from. The cost per pound is around 50 cents and 1 pound contains about 4 to 5 cups of raw shredded cabbage. Cabbage is very low-calorie and fills you up due to its water and fiber content. One half cup of cabbage provides almost 50 percent of your recommended daily need for vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate and vitamin K. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it contains phytochemicals that may play a role in the prevention of colon cancer.
Sunflower Seeds are the fruit or heart of sunflowers. Buy them in bulk to keep the cost low. A pound of seeds bought in bulk costs around $3 per pound, which averages out to only 10 cents per 1-ounce serving. Sunflower seeds may be small in size, but they are loaded with nutrients including heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. These seeds provide us with a concentrated source of energy. The fat, protein and fiber content help fill you up and keep you satisfied. Many of the minerals found in these seeds are important for bone and heart health and the vitamin E acts as an antioxidant protecting our bodies from damage.