Making healthy food choices on a budget doesn’t mean bringing home half-empty bags from the grocery store. By making smart decisions, eating healthy on a budget can become second nature. Here are three kitchen staples you can easily replace with healthier, inexpensive options on your next shopping trip.
If you love stir fries, casseroles and soups, you probably have rice in your pantry. Did you know there are many types of rice available? The everyday white sticky rice you enjoy in your Chinese takeout isn’t the only option out there. Try buying whole grain brown rice.
Unlike refined white rice, whole grain brown rice is packed with energy-boosting B vitamins and antioxidants manganese and selenium. Whole grains help stabilize blood sugars, encourage weight loss and prevent cancer, according to registered dietician Keri Glassman, a contributor to CBS. To save even more pennies, buy rice in bulk. The individual boil-in-bag pouches cost more and produce more waste for landfills.
From sandwiches to a morning plate of French toast, bread is a staple in many homes. Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t mean you have to give up bread. The carbohydrate-filled food is a great way to add even more cholesterol-lowering whole grains to your diet. Instead of grabbing the loaf of white bread made with processed bleached flour, opt for something darker.
Look for breads made with oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain wheat or brown rice. These breads not only add fiber to your diet, they also add more flavor to your meal so you won’t grab for extra slices just to fill up. Eating less means your cost per serving goes down — saving you money.
Consider going meatless for one meal a day. To get enough proteins and fiber in your diet, try making a meal based on beans, recommends the United States Department of Agriculture. When purchased dried, you can easily walk away paying a dollar or less for a pound of dried lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans or chickpeas.
You know that’s less than what you pay for a pound of ground beef. Now that’s eating healthy on a budget! In addition to chili, soups and vegetarian bean burritos, beans can be mashed and made into hamburger-like patties, bean loafs and seasoned for taco filling. As a bonus, beans are extremely low in saturated fat — unlike most meat-based proteins.