Superfoods sound super expensive, right? Not so, if you know where to look! If you’re jonesing for some inspiration to add to your grocery list for a healthier diet, look no further. These ingredients are all heart healthy, can help you lose weight, and are budget friendly. Check it out here!
And if you’re looking for more budget friendly recipes and ideas, check out “12 Easy Ways to Eat Well on a Budget” here.
Fresh Herbs: Less than $10 for a few packets of seeds, dirt and a pot.
Adding fresh herbs and spices reduces the need for salt, which can raise blood pressure and strain our heart and cardiovascular system. Not only do herbs add flavor and color to a meal, they are also full of nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants called polphyphenols. In fact, research shows that a diet rich in polyphenols offers protection against the development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.
If you’re like me and always kill herbs indoors, I’ve been using this little pot with great success this year since it keeps the herbs hydrated when I neglect them.
Soda and other sugary beverages can pack on the pounds, which increases the risk of heart and other disease. Water is cheap (I mean, it’s usually free!). Plus water helps keep us hydrated, flushes waste and toxins, helps us lose weight, and boosts energy.
Instead of buying water bottles, invest in a reusable water bottle to help save some dough and the planet.
Frozen berries: $13.99 for 3 lbs
If you’ve ever picked up a carton of berries in the produce aisle, you know that a tiny little tin can be EXPENSIVE. Besides that, many are picked before they are ripe making them tart, or they rot quickly. Unless berries are in season, I usually opt for a big bag of frozen wild blueberries. Blueberries, and all berries, are nutritional superstars, filled with fiber and antioxidants, both of which are good for your heart and the prevention of cancer and other diseases. (Check out my recipe for Blueberry & Oat Muffins here.)
Lentils: $1.39 for 16 dry ounces
It’s hard to beat the savings when it comes to lentils! While all dried beans are great for you and budget friendly, lentils are also tiny so they cook up fast. These tiny little legume or pulse, are not only high in both cholesterol lowering soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, but are also packed full of essential vitamins and minerals like folate, copper and iron. Make a big pot of lentil soup and you’ll be set for many meals, or toss them in a salad.
Oats: $2.99 for 18 ounces
Oats seem so simple, but just one serving keeps you strong on the inside and out. One ½ cup of oats gives you about half of the soluble fiber you need for the day. Just 3 grams of soluble fiber a day has been found to lower cholesterol by 8 to 23%, which can significantly drop your risk of heart disease. I recommend getting a big canister of old fashioned oats or steel cut oats. Pre-packed oatmeal packets are more expensive, plus they tend to be high in sugar and other additives and are partially processed, which makes them digest more quickly. Try oatmeal in the morning with a dash of nuts, berries and honey; mixing your own overnight oats; making your own granola or tossing them in muffins and other baked goods.
Oranges: $1.13 for one orangeEveryone always is saying to grab a banana if you need potassium, but did you know that an orange actually has more? Potassium helps lower blood pressure, plus oranges contain pectin, a fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Oranges are a great snack to grab on the go, since they pack well. Pair them with a handful of nuts to stay satisfied till your next meal.
Black Beans: $1.16 for 15 ounces
You probably wouldn’t think of black beans when you think of superfoods, but just one cup has both 15 grams of protein and fiber. Black beans are packed with folate, antioxidants, and magnesium, all of which can help lower blood pressure, plus fiber to lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Check out my recipe for black bean soup here!
Canned fish: $2.60 for 5 ounces
Fish is a great source of protein plus healthy fats, but it can be rather pricey. Instead of throwing in throwing in the towel and avoiding fish on a budget, try adding canned salmon to salads, fish cakes, or a swapping it in for tuna in a sandwich. If canned salmon isn’t your jam, tuna also offers up some omega-3s, though in lesser amounts.
Bananas: $1.50 for a bunch
Bananas may seem simple, but they’re cheap eats that are high in potassium, which is good for lower blood pressure, bone strength, muscle contractions,nerve signals, and more. Try adding bananas to oatmeal, add a tablespoon of nut butter, or grab one on the run with a handful of nuts for a health snack.
Kale: $4.99 for 16 ounces
There’s a reason this leafy green got so trendy. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense grocery store purchases you can buy since it’s high in vitamin A, B6, K, C, manganese, calcium, copper, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Research also shows that kale can help lower cholesterol. My pro tip? If you’re just starting to eat this green, look for baby kale, which is less chewy and has a less bitter flavor.
Flaxseed and chia seeds: $3.79 for 24 ounces, or $7.99 for 10 ounces
What has heart healthy fats plus cholesterol lowering fiber? These two tiny types of seeds! Add them to a wide variety of foods (smoothies, cereal, granola, pudding, salads, and more). I recommend getting ground flaxseed, which is easier to digest. While flaxseed is the cheaper option, I personally prefer the taste of chia seeds (or the lack of it) to the nutty and sometimes bitter flavor of flaxseed. Plus, a little goes a long way!