Hungry for something quick, cheap and healthy? It’s easy!
Too often, we buy into the media tidal wave of fast food as convenient and tasty when in reality it is neither. By the time you drive, pay for all their corporate profits, and ignore the health damage, your fast food diet will follow your hips, heart and waistline for years.
Instead, you can eat large amounts of food that are delicious, healthy and inexpensive.
The mainstay of your healthy, inexpensive, tasty diet is whole grains. If you never buy white bread again, it will be too soon. Brown rice, whole grain breads, tortillas, cereals and baked goods are all easy to work with, very filling and inexpensive and should be part of EVERY meal. Store brands are just as good as name brands, as are products found at bakery outlets. Stir-fried meals, cereal with skim milk, tortilla wraps and whole grain pastas are filling and simple to make, are enjoyed by all ages, they maintain good health and are easy on your budget.
Surprisingly, the next mainstay of your healthy, inexpensive diet is plant and some fish oils. These oils improve cholesterol levels and heart health. Plant oils such as avocado, canola, safflower, peanut, soy and olive are recommended for the best benefits and they can be used to for stir-fries, baked goods (just reduce the liquids in recipes), and in many other dishes. Abalone, anchovies, Arctic char, catfish, caviar, clams, crab, crawfish, halibut, herring, mackerel, mahimahi, mussels, oysters, prawns, sablefish (black cod), salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp, striped bass, sturgeon tilapia and tuna all provide healthy Omega-3 oils and can create memorable meals that the whole family can enjoy. By watching for seasonal catches, you can buy fish inexpensively. Flax or walnut oil and seeds and pumpkin seeds are also good sources for those Omega-3 oils.
Vegetables and fruits are next on the list with 2-3 servings per day. The variety of textures, flavors and colors make them extremely versatile. By shopping at local farmer’s markets, you not only help yourself but the environment as well. Fresh, frozen and organic produce is superior to canned vegetables, which have lost many of their nutrients. Vegetables can be served as they are, steamed, blanched, fried, roasted, barbequed and integrated into many baked goods, casseroles and slow-cooker dishes. Avocados are probably the healthiest fruit on the planet and you know what they say about an apple a day…
Fish, poultry and eggs should be eaten up to two times a day. They provide good protein and can often be found on sale at your local market. Again, these foods are versatile and easy to prepare. To improve the health of poultry, you can remove the skin and toss it in the freezer to be used to make a flavorful soup stock later on.
Nuts and beans should be eaten 1-3 times a day. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts all contain healthy fats and provide health benefits. Dried beans are inexpensive, easy to cook and can be made into a variety of dishes.
While dairy products offer protein and calcium, they often carry a lot of fat and other negatives. If skim milk and fat-free cheese and yogurt aren’t your forte, calcium supplements should be taken daily, along with a multivitamin.
Mammals and white stuff should be eaten sparingly if at all. By white stuff, I mean white bread, white rice, white pasta, peeled potatoes and sugar. The calories from these products are not worth the cost to your health or your wallet, not to mention the environment.
By putting these new foods on your shopping list and eliminating your old habits, you can eat more food at a lower cost for better health. Bon appetit!
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