Eating healthy comes with its benefits (like weight loss and a healthier lifestyle) but some would argue that it can be an expensive habit to keep up. However, there are some budget-friendly nutritious foods out there. Check out these 9 nutritionist-recommended foods that won't put a dent in your wallet!
1. Old fashioned oats
At almost nine grams of fiber per half cup, Bodybuilding.com nutrition editor Paul Salter says old fashioned oats are full of the stuff that fills you up fast without loading you down. It has a special fiber called beta-glucan, which positively impacts your cholesterol, blood glucose levels and even your bodyweight! The shelf life of oats could be as long as three years, which makes it super easy and affordable to buy in bulk.
Salter also recommends beans if you're trying to eat healthy while on a budget. They come in at an even higher fiber rate than oats: 14 grams of fiber per half cup! They're also rich in magnesium, iron and B vitamins, which help your body convert your food into energy. "Canned beans last at least one year," Salter says, "and dry beans have an even longer shelf life, which many label as 'indefinite!'"
The golden standard of protein, eggs are also known for their high amounts of vitamins A, D, and B. And forget that nasty cholesterol rumor! "Yes, eggs do contain cholesterol, but that doesn't mean they negatively impact blood cholesterol levels," Salter says. "In fact, they may even have a favorable impact on blood cholesterol levels—alongside a healthy diet and consistent exercise, eggs may help raise 'good' cholesterol."
4. Flax seeds
Reap the benefits flax seeds bring in the form of fiber, omega 3s, and lignans! Carrington Farms Health & Nutrition Consultant Deborah Orlick Levy recommends adding two tablespoons of flax seeds to your meal of choice (salad, soup, yogurt, smoothie) for your daily boost.
True, we already mentioned beans, but legumes like lentils and chickpeas offer tons of fiber and protein as well! Orlick Levy says to pair your legumes with brown or wild rice (like quinoa or whole wheat pasta) and veggies.
6. Sweet potatoes
More nutritious than other spuds, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. Plus, they'll only cost you $1 per pound!
7. Peanut butter
Forget PB&J; peanut butter can be used for so much more! It's full of protein and healthy fats, which add up to one happy, full belly. Make sure you're buying natural peanut butter with no added sugars or oils, and limit yourself to two tablespoons per serving.
8. Frozen mixed vegetables
As long as you're staying away from the variety with added sauces, salt, sugar or other unhealthy additives, frozen mixed veggies are the way to go! You can get up to seven varieties of vegetables in one bag, proving that it's one of the most cost-effective methods of getting your veggies.
9. Fat-free yogurt
Full of protein and calcium, fat-free yogurt should be on your grocery list every week. Greek yogurt is especially healthy and full of live cultures that can help sort out any digestive troubles you may be having. Buy the plain kind and add fruit, raisins, honey or flavored extracts for variety and flavor!