With so much fast food available these days, it can be very easy to make the wrong food choices – especially when we are short of time and trying to follow a healthy eating plan.
Luckily, there are still plenty of healthy foods available that are budget-friendly, easy to cook, nutritious, delicious and will help you to lose your pregnancy weight. Here are our top ten picks.
Top ten healthy budget foods
Fresh berries are fantastically healthy and super cheap if you buy them from the right places. Supermarket berries can be fairly pricey, but if you buy them from the greengrocers you can pick them up for very little money. Also – frozen berries are excellent value and keep well in the freezer and are ideal for adding into your Healthy Mummy Smoothies. They’re low in fat and calories, you can eat them raw or cooked, put them into cereals, desserts, smoothies or salads or you can freeze them for a sweet, icy treat.
Eggs are exceptionally good for you – packed with protein and heart-healthy fat, they are just 70 calories each and contain all essential amino acids. They are thought to help with weight loss and muscle strength – and they are cheap, too. You can pick up eggs for around 15 cents per egg and possibly even cheaper if you get them from a farm. Use them in omelets, scramble them for breakfast or bake them in a frittata for dinner.
Sweet potatoes are packed with fibre and beta-carotene, and they are thought to be one of the most nutritional foods around – they can combat cancer, arthritis, diabetes and ulcers. They’re also low in fat and calories and super cheap – and a big bag of sweet potatoes will keep you going for ages. Mash them, fry them or bake them with paprika or cinnamon for a delicious potato chip style snack.
Brown rice is incredibly good for you – it is unprocessed, so it contains more fibre and more nutrients than regular white rice. It costs just 10 cents per ¼ cup serving of rice, and it is super versatile – stir into salads, add to stir fries or just cook as a side dish to a stew or casserole. You can also put rice into soups to bulk them out and make them more filling.
Beans of all varieties are packed with fibre and heart-healthy fats. They’re also full of protein, meaning that they are super filling – and they are low on the glycaemic index, so they release their energy slowly over a period of time, keeping you fuller for longer. Mash beans as an alternative to mashed potatoes, toss them into salads, cook them in soups or stews or add them to casseroles.
Tinned tuna is super cheap but it still contains all of the heart-healthy nutrients that make fresh tuna good for you. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for lowering your cholesterol, and it’s an excellent source of protein. It’s also low in fat and calories – stick it in salads, serve it on sandwiches or toss it with pasta.
Bananas are an excellent foodstuff – they are just about the fastest fast food you can buy, plus they come in their own packaging. They’re also sweet and low in calories – perfect for if you are on a diet but you still want something sweet. They are full of potassium, too, as well as loads of other vitamins and minerals. Eat them as they are or whiz in smoothies.
Wholemeal pasta is a complex carbohydrate, full of fibre – in fact, it contains three times the fibre of any other pasta. Fibre fills you up faster and keeps you fuller for longer – so you can eat less, thus helping you to lose weight. Wholemeal pasta is also proportionally low in fat and calories, making it a great side dish, or you could cook it and serve it in pasta salads or use it to bulk out soups.
Tinned tomatoes are a fantastically cheap way to get a big dose of vitamins and nutrients. Plus, tomatoes actually give you more nutrients when cooked – they contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, and they are packed with vitamins A and C. Use them in stews, casseroles and ragus or cook them in pasta sauces.
Lentils are probably the king of healthy, budget foods – you can buy them dried or ready-cooked, according to how you want to use them, they are low in calories and fat, super filling, packed with protein and other vitamins and are supremely versatile. Pop ‘em in curries, fry them with onions or whiz them up to make tasty and filling dips and spreads.
And to see our 28 Day Diet & Exercise Plan which incorporates lots of these foods click here and to see our full range of health and weight loss products click here
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