Cheap Foods That Are Great for the Mind and Body

If your goal is to improve your health, one of the first areas you’re probably focusing on is cleaning up your diet. Eating healthy is a great goal. However, you might be hesitant to overhaul your diet because of the high costs. Research by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating a healthy diet costs roughly $1.50 more a day than it costs to eat an unhealthy diet. Clean living can be hard on the wallet.

However, if you’re trying to save money, you don’t have to eat unhealthy meals. It’s possible to consume a nutritious diet while keeping costs down. You can enjoy foods that are good for your mind and body without having to sacrifice an arm and a leg.

1. Tofu

Mapo Tofu in a white plate

This tasty tofu dish can replace an expensive meat-based meal. | iStock.com

Price: $2.50 per pound

Benefit: Tofu is not only good for your body. It can also help you avoid high meat prices (sirloin steak has been as high as $8 per pound over the last year). In addition, tofu, which is made from condensed soy milk, is high in protein and low in fat. It is packed with all the essential amino acids needed by the body, as well as fats, carbohydrates, and several vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, studies have shown that vegan proteins such as tofu might help lower the risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. If you’re looking for a low-cost and healthy meat replacement, tofu is for you.

Do you want to learn more about tofu? Take a look at our handy guide.

2. Broccoli

Plate of broccoli

This tasty broccoli meal will hit the spot. | iStock.com

Price: $1.54 per pound

Benefit: At $1.54 per pound, this green, leafy vegetable will bring health to both your budget and your body. Broccoli contains a generous amount of folate and vitamin C. These nutrients may help lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease. In addition, broccoli has been found to be an eye saver. The antioxidants in this vegetable have been found to protect eye cells from damage caused by ultraviolet light, according to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

At a loss for interesting ways to prepare broccoli? Try one of these delicious broccoli recipes for your next meal.

3. Whole turkey

Roasted turkey on a plate with cranberries, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie

Turkey is always a crowd pleaser. | iStock.com

Price: $1.58 per pound

Benefit: Skip the processed turkey in the lunch meat aisle (due to its high sodium content) and opt for a whole turkey instead. It’s fresher and will likely last a lot longer. Whole turkey is also cheaper than other less healthy meats, such as pork chops ($3.73 per pound), sliced bacon ($5.18 per pound), and ham ($2.82 per pound). Turkey is a great source of B vitamins, proteins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. These ingredients help maintain muscle health and keep insulin stable after meals, according to Medical News Today.

If you’re searching for yummy turkey recipes, look no further than these seven quick turkey meals.

 4. Whole chicken

Barbecued chicken with vegetables ready to be sliced

Chicken is filling and healthy. | iStock.com/tab1962

Price: $1.42 per pound

Benefit: As long as you don’t put it in a deep fryer, chicken can be a healthy part of your dinner or lunch. Just make sure to purchase a whole chicken, as other forms of it tend to be more expensive. The most expensive of all the chicken options are boneless chicken breasts, which have been as high as $3.22 per pound over the last 12 months.

Chicken is a great healthy option because it contains less cholesterol and saturated fat than red meats like beef and pork. It also contains essential amino acids and proteins, which are the major building blocks of all bodily muscle tissue, including heart tissue and skeletal muscle.

If you’re looking for inspiration for some tasty chicken dinner recipes, check out these five suggestions.

5. Whole wheat bread

Whole wheat dinner rolls

Whole wheat bread can help with constipation. | iStock.com

Price: $1.98 per pound

Benefit: Whole wheat bread is a powerhouse when it comes to healthy eating. The whole grains contain B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper. If you have trouble with constipation, you’ll want to make sure whole wheat bread is part of your diet. This health food also contains fiber and helps promote healthy bacteria growth in the colon, which is excellent for regular bowel movements, according to the experts at WebMD.

Here are some hearty and healthy bread recipes to help you get started.

6. Beans

Stewed white beans in tomato sauce on hearty toast with fresh herbs

Beans are good for digestion. | iStock.com

Price: $1.35 per pound

Benefit: Beans are nutritious and easy on the wallet. This versatile food may lower your risk for colorectal cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Beans may also help manage your weight since they’re a hearty, filling food. In addition, they can help control blood cholesterol levels due to their high soluble fiber content. Eating five to 10 grams of soluble fiber each day lowers LDL cholesterol by roughly 5%, Today’s Dietician reports. Just one cup of black beans contains 4.8 grams of soluble fiber, navy beans have 4.4 grams, and light red kidney beans have 4 grams of fiber.

Add more fiber to your diet with these seven easy rice and bean recipes.

7. Grapefruit

Grapefruit segments on a wooden table

Grapefruit is healthy and refreshing. It could also help reduce stroke risk. | iStock.com

Price: $1.16 per pound

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. In addition, eating greater amounts of a compound found in citrus fruits such as grapefruit could reduce the risk for ischemic stroke in women, according to the Live Science. Those who ate the most citrus had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke than those who ate less of it.

Boost your vitamin A and C intake by following these six creative grapefruit recipes.

8. Oranges

Oranges with orange juice

Get a boost of vitamin C with some oranges. | iStock.com

Price: $1.19 per pound

Benefit: If you’re trying to stick to your budget and a low-calorie diet, oranges are a refreshing way to meet both requirements. Oranges are not only packed with vitamin C but also with more than 170 phytonutrients and 60 flavonoids, which have been found to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is why oranges can help keep your skin clear and healthy, and can also lower your overall disease risk due to the antioxidants, which help rid your body of toxins.

Add a little flavor to your diet by following these 13 yummy citrus-based recipes.

9. Bananas

Bunch of Bananas

Bananas are a great source of potassium. | iStock.com

Price: 57 cents per pound

Benefit: Bananas have been found to have many benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer and asthma, lowering blood pressure, and improving heart health. There are many ways to enjoy bananas. For instance, you can add them to your morning bowl of cereal, or you can eat them as a stand-alone snack. Here are six frozen banana recipes that you’ll surely enjoy.

10. Peanuts

Bowl of peanuts

Peanuts are good for your body and your budget. | iStock.com

Price: 19 cents per pound

Benefit: Peanuts may be small, but they pack a big punch. When eaten in moderation, peanuts can be a healthy snack that could reduce your mortality risk. In fact, these small wonders contain healthy fats that can reduce your heart disease risk. They can also contribute to increased cognitive function as well as a reduced risk for respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease, according to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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