Everyone is always trying to be healthier and eat healthy. Superfoods can be expensive and confusing. Jessica Cox has provided me with a list of 10 Budget Friendly Superfoods and a few recipes!
Gogi and acai berries, pomegranates, and even spirulina algae are taking the stage as superfood superstars. But a one-pound package of powdered algae costs $30 to $40 (and who wants to eat that anyway?!), and you’ll pay about $35 for a one-liter bottle of goji juice. But superfoods don’t have to be exotic or expensive. Superfoods are foods that contain higher concentrations of nutrients and relatively fewer calories per serving than other foods. This includes most fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, herbs and spices and fat-free dairy. Incorporating these nutritional superstars into your diet regularly will help ensure that you get enough of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy without blowing your budget on expensive specialty foods and supplements.
Top 10 Budget-Friendly Superfoods:
1. Beans and peas Legumes: including kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas and lentils, are an excellent source of meat-free protein, fiber, folate and potassium. Diets highs in beans and peas may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent diabetes.
2. Dark green leafy vegetables: Kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens are excellent sources of fiber, folate, Vitamins A and K and antioxidants that contribute to heart and bone health and may help to prevent some forms of cancer. Choose fresh greens in season, or purchase frozen chopped spinach and kale to incorporate into casserole and pasta dishes for the best value.
3. Yogurt: Low-fat and fat-free yogurt contains calcium and Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones, as well as potassium, which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Choose Greek yogurt for twice the amount of protein in regular yogurt.
Clean Eating Refrigerator Oatmeal
- ⅓ cup milk
- ¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ – ½ cup unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree
- Place first six ingredients in a half-pint jar. Tightly screw lid onto jar, and shake to combine. Remove top, add applesauce or pumpkin puree, and stir well. Refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days.
4. Quinoa; This ancient grain contains more protein per serving than any other grain. It also contains filling fiber, as well as iron and potassium. Try substituting quinoa for rice and couscous in grain recipes.
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- ½ English cucumber, diced
- ½ cup finely chopped green onions
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions; cool to room temperature.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add quinoa, and toss to combine.
- Let stand 1 hour before serving.
5. Hot peppers: Low-calorie peppers contain cancer-fighting, heart-healthy antioxidants and Vitamin C. Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot, can also increase satiety and temporarily boost you metabolism by up to 15%.
6. Garlic and onions; Not just for adding flavor, members of the allium family, including garlic, onions, leeks and chives, are packed with polyphenols, which may help prevent stomach, breast, colon, esophageal and lung cancer.
7. Berries: Fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are prized for their naturally-sweet flavor, but these fruits are also bursting with a host of healthy nutrients, including fiber, Vitamins A, C and E, calcium and potassium. The antioxidants in berries may help to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. As a high-fiber, low-calorie sweet treat, berries can be helpful in weight control. Enjoy fresh berries in the spring and summer when they’re in season, and purchase frozen, unsweetened berries for smoothies and sauces throughout the year.
8. Broccoli and cauliflower: Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, contain powerful antioxidants that have been linked to reduced risk of several cancers. This group of vegetables is also low in calories and high in fiber and Vitamin C.
9. Cinnamon: Polyphenols in cinnamon help to reduce inflammation in the body that can lead to heart disease and cancer. Sprinkle on oatmeal, coffee or toast for an added antioxidant boost.
10. Tea: Green and black teas contain flavonoids, which may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Just limit the amount of sugar you add to keep this healthful beverage low in calories.
Do you get these foods in your diet on a daily/weekly basis? Do you use the more expensive superfoods?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jessica Cox is a Registered Dietitian and chef. She is the Culinary Nutritionist at eMeals, a meal planning service based in Birmingham, AL, that helps busy families enjoy healthy meals together. She creates original recipes that are both good and good for you, writes and edits meal plans, styles food for photography, and writes nutrition content for the eMeals blog. Jessica is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Alabama Dietetic Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves as a Board Member for the annual FoodBlogSouth conference and is a Contributing Editor for the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group’s quarterly newsletter, Tastings. Her writing and original recipes have been featured on the Kids Eat Right website, The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association’s blog, Local Table magazine, and several Oxmoor House cookbooks.