If you just started a diet you may have noticed that a lot of healthy food options are pretty expensive. Quality meat and organic vegetables are definitely better for you than frozen pizza or ramen noodles, but they will also cost you a lot more.
So here are a few options that you want to include in your meal plan to eat healthy, without going broke. Pretty much all of them can be found at your local supermarket and I’ve been using them for years.
A lot of people think frozen vegetables are less healthy than fresh vegetables. In theory, this is true because vegetables that were just picked will be fullest in vitamins and minerals.
But unless you live by a farm, that’s not what you’re getting when you buy “fresh” vegetables at the supermarket. Those are usually picked before they are ripe and then transported to the supermarket. This leaves them with less time to develop all their nutrients.
That’s why studies have shown that the nutritional content of both fresh and frozen vegetables is very similar and since frozen vegetables are usually a lot cheaper that’s what you should go with when you are on a budget.
Eggs are one of the best protein sources out there and still super cheap. Even if you buy the more ‘expensive’ free-range eggs you will still spend a lot less than if you bought a steak or some other type of quality meat.
Because eggs are so cheap and easy to prepare I eat them almost every day. They help me build muscle when I’m bulking and lose fat when I’m cutting. For me, fried eggs on whole grain bread is the best thing in the world.
Tuna is not just full of protein but also high in vitamin D and fairly low in calories. This makes it a great option to include in your meal plan when you are trying to lose weight. For example, some lettuce with tuna makes for a great salad that is pretty filling but very low in calories.
One thing I should mention is that tuna can contain mercury, which builds up in their tissue over time. While this is definitely an argument against eating tune every day, you don’t have to completely exclude it from your diet. Stick to one or two cans of tuna a week and you will be fine.
Beans & Legumes
Just like tuna, Beans are high in protein but they also have complex carbs, which are broken down more slowly and keep you full for longer. Beans start at less than a dollar per can and I also eat them almost every day.
When you buy beans there two things you need to keep in mind. If you buy uncooked beans, make sure to cook them at least 10 minutes in boiling water. This deactivates certain toxins that are present in raw beans.
If you buy canned beans, make sure to choose the ones without any added salt or sauces. Unfortunately, these sauces are usually full of sodium and quite high in calories, which isn’t what you are looking for when you are on a diet.
Last but not least you should also include some fruits in your meal plan. Fruits are a great alternative to candy or chocolate and the fiber in them will keep your hunger in check.
Now, I know fruits can be expensive but you don’t have to go with the organic ones. The normal version is usually just fine and bananas or apples are still super cheap. You can also buy frozen fruits but again make sure they don’t have any added sugar. Food manufacturers love to add massive amounts of sugar to frozen fruits, especially berries, so always check the nutrition label first.