Did you know that the most nutritious foods aren’t necessarily the most expensive? We’ve been trained to assume that more money automatically means a better product. One example where this tired trope just simply doesn’t add up is at the grocery store. Some of the healthiest foods on the shelf are the most affordable.
These functional foods are lauded for their high vitamin counts, tons of antioxidant properties, or their just plain good nutrition data. WebMD suggests cooking these super foods at home and selecting the healthiest, freshest version possible of any food you put in your body. Here are ten super food ideas that combine smart foods with affordable prices:
- Kale – This green leafy super food king is packed with vitamins and minerals. Plus, kale is an excellent source of calcium and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Serve fresh in salads (remove the bitter center ribs first), lightly sauté in healthy oil, or drizzle in olive oil, vinegar, and nutritional yeast and bake until crispy to make delectable kale chips.
- Apples – We know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but do you know the true worth of this perfectly portioned super food? Apples support heart health and are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Eat them whole or slice them up and add to salads, cereals, and sandwiches.
- Low Fat Milk – The calcium in low fat milk builds strong bones and can even support weight loss. Pour it over your cereal in the morning, or start the day with a low fat latte instead of drip coffee.
- Spinach – Another leafy powerhouse, spinach is an excellent source of iron and promotes brain function. Fresh spinach provides the base for amazing salads, or you can even add the frozen variety to fruit smoothies!
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms might not look like much, but they are loaded with antioxidants. Try them sliced in a salad, sautéed with dinner, or mixed in with your scrambled eggs in the morning.
- Canned Salmon – Wild salmon is a healthful treat for anyone, but it can often be expensive or hard to find. Luckily, canned salmon has all the benefits of the wild variety. One four-ounce portion contains a whole day’s recommended worth of omega-3 fatty acids and is shown to reduce inflammation. Serve straight out of the can with wild rice or veggies.
- Pinto Beans – These beans are versatile, nutrient-packed, and high in fiber. Find them in the can or dry and serve them in salads, soups, chilis, burritos, or as a flavorful side dish.
- Eggs – Eggs may have gotten a bad rap for their high cholesterol count, but in reality, one egg’s protein-packed 70 calories can fit into most diets. Just stick to no more than seven a week. Plus, eggs are an incredibly bargain and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
- Oatmeal – Not only is oatmeal nostalgic, comforting, and delicious, this super oat is chock full of zinc, magnesium, and iron, not to mention jam-packed with fiber. Oatmeal served plain is a classic, affordable way to start your day off right.
- Frozen Berries – Berries are known for their antioxidant superpowers, but sometimes the fresh variety can be expensive. Luckily, frozen berries retain nutrients and are much cheaper. Scoop these berries into low fat yogurt or mix into pancake and waffle mixes.
- ”Cheap and Healthy: 15 Nutritious Foods for About $2″, WebMD
- “10 Seriously Cheap Superfoods”, The Huffington Post