We seem to be constantly bombarded by hard-to-pronounce health foods with miracle ingredients and benefits, but they usually come with a hefty price tag. The good news is that there are plenty of other more affordable foods that pack just as much nutritional punch.
“If you don’t have the finances to splurge on some of these trendy superfoods, you can get plenty of the same nutrition from commonplace foods,” says 12WBT nutritionist Lisa Donaldson.
So head to the grocery aisle for nutritional powerhouses without the high price tag. Here are Lisa’s top picks for great products that are good for you, and good for your wallet!
Things don’t get much cheaper – or healthier – than good old-fashioned oats. They’re a breakfast staple packed with beta-glucan, a cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre which also boosts your immunity. Always make sure you’ve got some in your pantry!
2. Skim milk
With as much as 300mg of calcium per 250ml serving, skim milk is the ultimate bone-building food. “It’s an excellent, fat-free rehydrator and also contains leucine, a powerful amino acid that helps repair and replenish muscles after exercise,” says Lisa. Add it to smoothies, cereal or just enjoy a cold glass, straight up.
The humble egg contains 11 vitamins and minerals, and nature’s perfect protein-heavy snack keeps you fuller for longer. Don’t be afraid of the yolk – it contains choline, which is thought to help prevent age-related memory loss.
Sardines are super cheap and a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, says Lisa. These fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories that help keep your heart healthy. “Sardines are delicious served on wholegrain toast with tomato and pepper,” Lisa adds.
5. Sweet potatoes
Comforting sweet potatoes make you feel good, and can be often be found at a good price. They help increase the happy-mood chemical serotonin, and they’re low-GI to boot. Prepare them as you would potatoes – mash them, roast them or boil them!
You can often get a good deal on broccoli – especially if it’s in season. “Broccoli is one of my favourite foods – it’s a green dream,” says Lisa. “It’s packed with multi-tasking folic acid, immune-boosting vitamin C and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Broccoli is a perfect dinner vegetable that can be added to stir-fries and curries or you can enjoy it simply steamed.” Found it at a good price? Chop it up into florets, and freeze.
Cauliflower packs a serious nutritional punch, and can be prepared in a bunch of ways. Adding cauliflower to your meals is an easy way to add bulk (without adding excess calories), boost your vegie intake and get all the health benefits of this vegetable. It’s a great alternative to mashed potatoes – try boiling and mashing the cauliflower instead. You can also steam it, stir-fry it, roast or puree it!
Berries are great to pick up when they’re on sale! They have one of the highest antioxidant contents of all fruits and veggies, containing both cancer-fighting anthocyanins and memory-boosting flavonoids. When you can get them for a good price, pop some punnets in the freezer! “Use frozen blueberries with skim milk and natural yoghurt for a fabulous protein-packed smoothie,” Lisa suggests. As a bonus, blueberries help fight signs of premature ageing.