EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET – part 1: FRUITS
I’d like to share some tips to choosing the best fruits for your buck when you’re eating healthy on a budget.
It is recommended we eat five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day. That sounds like a lot. And that sounds expensive. But there are ways to eat healthy and delicious foods while staying within a budget.
- Choose your fruit wisely.
- Buy fresh fruit in season and on sale.
- You can stock up and freeze what you can’t eat before going bad.
- Frozen fruit is great in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, breads and other breakfast meals.
- To eliminate clumping of fruit, freeze them by laying on a tray before transferring to a baggie.
- You can also puree fruit and freeze in ice cube trays before moving to a baggie.
Buy fruits you love but purchase those that give you the most bang for the buck. Choose a variety of fruit that offer big benefits to your body but also benefits to your wallet.
The below fourteen fruits have the most nutritional value for the lowest cost.
Apricots are high in fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and phytosterols. (plants chemicals with huge health benefits.) Apricots are also low in calories and contain beta-cryptoxanthin. Beta-cryptoxanthin is a strong antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer.
Avocados may be high in fat but it’s monounsaturated fat that is so high. And this is good because it’s an omego-9 fat which actually lowers cholesterol. Avocados contain other natural substances linked to lower blood cholesterol, prostate health, a lower risk of cancer and diabetes as well as heart disease. Avocados also contain lutein for healthy eyes, heart and skin.
Bananas are known as a healthy food and relatively cheap. They are known to be high in fiber and potassium. It’s no wonder bananas are offered after athletic events. Low potassium is connected to muscle cramps and can make you weak and tired. Fiber also helps you feel full longer. Bananas can also help with your digestive health because they contain food for the good bacteria in your gut.
Being a melon, cantaloupe is a high-volume food. This means for its weight it contains a high amount of water, fiber, air with low calories. If you are in a weight control program, high-volume foods are your best friends. They do a great job of appetite control. The water in cantaloupe fills you up. More so than a glass of water in addition to your meal. Cantaloupe also has high amounts of potassium and vitamin A which helps to lower heart disease and stroke rates.
I’ve already mentioned that grapefruit helps speed up metabolism. Grapefruits are another low calorie high volume food helping to fill you up and control appetite. They may contain limonoids and lycopene which helps reduce cancer cells in the breast and prostate. Note: If you are medication, especially allergy medicine, consult your doctor before eating grapefruit.
Honeydew is of course a melon and as mentioned above melons are high-volume foods. Half a melon has only 180 calories and about 90% of the melon is water! Honeydew is another potassium and vitamin A heavyweight. Honeydews are wonderful in juices and smoothies. Combine it with other melons, say cantaloupe, some sparkling water, maybe a little ginger or mint and you’ve got a great summer spritzer.
I love kiwi. May be one of my favorite fruits. They a little power balls all on their own. Kiwis have twice the amount of vitamin C as oranges. Studies have shown kiwi to be the most nutrient dense of all fruits. It’s high in magnesium, fiber and potassium while also being low in sodium. Kiwi was also shown to limit cellular damage as well as repair it! Kiwi promotes a healthy heart by working as a blood thinner, too.
- Orange juice
Real fresh squeezed orange juice is best. Not the sugar loaded drink. And regular old oranges outweigh juice any day but the juice does contain vitamin C and cancer-fighting limonoids. Also, go for pulp. A lot of the good for you stuff is in the pulp.
Nectarines are low in calories and contain good amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin A and C, fiber and potassium. Beta-carotene is a free radical fighting antioxidant. Vitamin A helps build strong teeth, skin, and bones. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps heal wounds as well as fight cancers. Fiber makes us feel full longer and potassium helps our metabolism.
Papaya is one of the best sources of digestive enzymes. It contains papain which helps break down/digest protein. Papain may contain anti-inflammatory properties so it’s used in pain, arthritis and sports injury supplements. Papaya has a ton of potassium, fiber with only about 119 calories. It also has a good amount of calcium, fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A and beta-carotene. As for its cancer fighting powers, it helps reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer as well as reducing the risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Oh yeah, it seems to have super antioxidant properties, too.
Pears are nutritionally similar to bananas. They are most known for their high amounts of fiber and potassium while being only about 100 calories. However, they do contain a variety of other minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to name a few.
- Star fruit
Can’t say I’ve ever eating a star fruit. Sounds exotic and fun, though. There are two types – tart and sweet. Tart can be a substitute for lemon or lime. It is a tropical fruit and available in the U.S. July through February. Star fruit is high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber but low in calories. It can also be cooling and astringent. It should also be noted that the star fruit is a good source of antioxidants.
The tangerine is similar to oranges being that they contain high amounts of vitamin C and A. Tangerines are smaller and personally easier to eat. They can also store well in the refrigerator.
Watermelon has been listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods and mainly because of three things – high water content, high lycopene content and high levels of vitamin A and carotenoids. Watermelon is 92% water making this a perfect weight loss snack. Water as part of food has a very filling effect. More so than a regular glass of water. Water in your food slows down absorption and lasts longer in your belly. Let’s not stop here. Watermelon is also a prostate cancer fighter and lung cancer fighter due to the carotenoids it contains.
Check out the book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth to learn more about making good food choices.
It’s possible to eat healthy foods when you’re limited to a budget. Use the above list to buy nutritional low cost fruits when in season and on sale. Then use the tips to ensure your fruits aren’t wasted.
Side Note: Check out the dirty dozen list to see if any of these are best bought as organic due to the amount of pesticides. They shouldn’t be but just in case.
Plus, don’t skip fruits because they’re not in your budget. Experts suggest spending $5 on fruits for every $25 you spend on food. Fruits are important to you diet. Keep them on your budget.
TRACK YOUR HEALTH & FITNESS GOALS!
Are you keeping a nutrition and fitness journal? Research shows that by keeping a food and fitness journal, writing down your workouts and what you eat, you lose more weight and reach your goals quicker. Fitbook is an awesome journal that provides tips, motivation and plenty of space to reflect and document things that inspire you. I use this to help plan my workouts and my meals. I love the extra tips it offers regarding healthier food and fitness options.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A STARFRUIT?
As always, please remember that I am not a medical professional, personal trainer or nutritionist… I’m just a hard hitting girl who wants to be healthy and strong! Before you begin any fitness or nutrition program, please consult your physician!
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