It’s not news that we’ve hit some difficult economic times. What may be news to you, however, is that studies show when money is tight people often opt for inexpensive food options that are also unhealthy - but you can still eat healthfully on a budget. Let’s take a look at some tasty and nutritious food ideas that can be enjoyed for under $1 a serving.
Eating Healthy Snacks
First, let’s talk about snacks, starting with nuts. A lot of people have the belief that eating nuts will make them gain weight, but a small handful of walnuts, almonds or cashews every day does not appear to contribute towards weight gain, provides a rich source of protein, fiber and other nutrients, and is good for your heart. In small quantities nuts also rapidly relieve hunger pangs. And don’t forget that fresh fruit and vegetables make great healthy snacks. Put a small plate of baby carrots or grapes out within easy reach and watch them slowly disappear as your family grazes on them throughout the day.
Another healthy snack idea is chocolate, but specifically dark chocolate. I know, you’re disappointed , but it’s true! Data suggest that a small piece of dark chocolate each day can support blood vessel health and is a potent source of antioxidants. Dark chocolate tastes a little different than milk chocolate but it’s better for you. Remember, however, enjoy in moderation (don’t eat the entire bar at one sitting!).
Eat Healthy and Save Money with Leftovers
||Eating Healthy Meals
As far as meals go, focus on the following not as side dishes but as delicious and affordable main courses of appropriate portion size, either separately or served together:
Add a cup of green tea as a beverage, a small side salad, maybe even a little of that dark chocolate as an after dinner treat and you’ve partaken of a healthy meal that’s also good for your wallet.
- brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including salads
- organic cheese wedges, perhaps with whole grain crackers or bread
- brown rice
- beans (if using the canned variety rinse with water first to remove some of the salt)
- whole grain pastas
Keep in mind that leftovers can go a long way towards maintaining a diet that is healthy in ways both physical and financial. Perhaps the initial “investment” in meat or fish is a little more expensive, but when refrigerated appropriately and served in creative ways over the next day or so, the cost comes down significantly. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible – if the food has been out for more than 2 hours it’s best to throw it out (better safe than sorry).
Keep Portion Sizes Reasonable
Some people turn to eating more food when times are tough. Keep in mind that over-indulging even on inexpensive healthy fare can be unhealthy for you. Keep your portion sizes reasonable, enjoy a small amount of healthy snacks regularly, do some physical activity every day, and you’ll be in the best condition to weather these challenging times healthily.
And don’t forget to check your weekly Harris Teeter circular – you’ll always find top quality healthy foods on sale each week, and you might even be able to buy in bulk!
During times like these we have to take care of one another – and Harris Teeter is here to help.
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **