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Cheap And Healthy Foods And Meal Ideas!

One great way to lead a healthy lifestyle on a budget is to eat out less and cook more at home. This doesn’t only save money, but it gives you greater leverage in creating your own delicious, gourmet-style meals with the flavors and intensities you like. Grab a notebook and write down the following health foods you can get under $1, your wallet, and your tummy will thank you!

1. Beans

Beans are perhaps one of the most nutritious and inexpensive foods that give you a ton of fiber and a whole lot of protein. Beans are a staple in many developing countries of the world as they’re filling and contain most of the nutrients required by the body at an affordable price. Any type of beans will give you a good amount of potassium, calcium, and folic acid as well.

Instead of buying the canned stuff, get dry beans instead. They have greater nutrient densities with higher levels of antioxidants and you can purchase them at a very low price. Beans are incredibly versatile. You can make patties out of them, make a black bean soup, add them to a salad or a wrap, or prepare a healthy black bean dip.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a vital part of every home’s kitchen. If you need some quick protein, eggs are an instant fix. You can make them in various ways, from old-fashioned boiled to scrambled eggs with veggies or vegetable frittata with cheese. You can add them to anything too, such as a homemade fried brown rice or a sandwich.

3. Peanuts

When consumed in moderation, peanuts provide a healthy dose of good fats that prevent free radical damage and reduce cancer risk. Peanuts are incredibly versatile as well. You can make a homemade natural peanut butter and have it with your favorite food – we love bananas and peanut butter! Or you can add whole peanuts to your salad, chicken, or rice dish

4. Chickpeas

Also called garbanzo beans, these babies will cost you around just $1 a can or maybe even less if you buy them dry. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also packed with fiber and protein. You can use them in your cooking in several different ways, such as homemade hummus, roasted chickpeas, chickpea salad, or “chaat” or chickpea curry.

5. Lentils

Guess what, lentils consist of more protein than a pound of beef and they’re super filling and high in antioxidants. They make mean lentil soup or “daal” which can be consumed alone or with rice.

6. Oats

Oats are low in fat and rich in fiber and good fats. They help in lowering cholesterol levels and have a fantastically low glycemic index, making them diet-friendly and diabetes-safe. A bowl of oatmeal with some fruit is a hearty breakfast anyone would fall in love with within the morning and it is super cheap!

You can use oats as a substitute for flour in flatbreads, cookies, muffins, and even use them like breadcrumbs. You must have heard it a 1000 times that you must eat enough fruits and veggies to lose weight and stay healthy. But the reports published by CDC highlighted that only 9% of people are having the recommended daily serving of veggies and only 13% of people are eating enough fruits.

This is an alarming signal as in addition to the numerous health benefits including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc. – they are low in calories, but have lots of water and fiber, making them very filling.

Furthermore, varied studies have shown a positive relationship between fruit and veggie consumption and feeling good, which includes feelings of well-being, and creativity, as well as greater self-control and more initiative.

Still not convinced?

Studies have shown that positive activities like eating fruits and veggies are more likely to result in positive activities; simply meaning that if you feel good about what you’re eating, you may be more motivated to exercise.

As per the recommendations given by the U.S. government’s MyPlate, adults should eat between 1½ to 2 cups of fruit & 2- 3 cups of vegetables per day, varying based on age and gender. So today we have got simple tips that will help you increase your fruits and veggies consumption without putting in any extra efforts:-

1. Make fruits & veggies your snacks

Instead of snacking on chips, cookies, or other less-than-healthy munchies, try committing to only eating fruits or vegetables as snacks. When hungry just grab a fruit or enjoy fresh veggies like – sliced peppers, baby carrots, cucumber with a healthy dip including hummus, salsa, or yogurt.

2. Eat fruits for dessert

It’s not always easy to wean ourselves off the high-sugar diet we’re used to, but replacing high sugar desserts with fruits is a great alternative to reduce the calorie intake and also increase the consumption of fruits. Try fresh berries, peaches, plums, or pear for dessert.

3. Don’t forget the frozen ones

You aren’t limited to just what’s in your grocery store’s produce section. Frozen fruit and vegetables which can be added to your oats, porridge are just as healthy as the fresh variety.

4. Make veggies the star of the dish

Often we relegate vegetables to the side of our plate, which makes it tough to get enough — not to mention, when they’re the side dish, we usually give them less of our culinary attention. Instead, it is suggested that you have vegetarian meals once or twice per week for dinner and make vegetables the focal point of your meal.

5. Pile it up

Many of your favorite recipes, including pasta, bruschettas, casseroles, etc. can be easily bulked up with extra veggies. If you’re dealing with picky eaters, this is a great way to make a meal the whole family will enjoy. Most importantly, remember that rather than considering it a task to make the dishes rich in taste and flavors so that instead of becoming a gulping down activity it becomes a savory one.

So now, it's time to enjoy a bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables… HURRY UP!

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