5 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

More than a third of American adults are obese, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Yet, the rough economy is making it difficult for many to eat healthy, as a lot of not-so-good-for-you foods are inexpensive and easy to find.

When you eat healthy, however, you’re more likely to get the right balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that allow your body to be at its best. A healthy diet is also known to prevent many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer, according to WebMD.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost a lot. It starts with awareness – both in what’s good for your health and what’s good for your budget. The Internet is a great resource to learn about what foods are good for you. In fact, the government runs several sites, like Nutrition.gov and MyPyramid.gov, that provide valuable information about healthy eating.

In addition to raising your level of awareness about nutrition, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your spending and be aware of where your money is going. Many people find this easier when they keep a high-level budget. The Web can assist you here too, as there are a lot of Web sites that offer free, easy-to-use budget tools to help you track your money.

It’s time to tighten your belt! Here are five ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank:

1. Limit your meat intake.

Why it’s good for you:

Simmer down, carnivores, I’m a meat lover too. But unless you’re always consuming skinless, boneless chicken breast, you’re probably eating meat that tastes a whole lot better than it is good for you. In fact, eating lots of red meat increases your chances of dying prematurely, according to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Why it’s good for your budget:

Few things increase your grocery tab faster than meat. You don’t have to outlaw meat altogether to tighten your belt, but you may want to consider buying more inexpensive proteins like beans and tofu to replace some of the meat you eat.

2. Know your cheap staples.

Why it’s good for you:

Foods like wholes grains (brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers), beans, chicken and canned fish (tuna, salmon and sardines) are chock full of vitamins and nutrients, and provide important health benefits:

Whole grains: Reduce risk of some chronic diseases and coronary heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent many digestion problems, according to the USDA.

Beans: Lower risk of heart disease, colorectal cancer and possibly, diabetes, according to Johns Hopkins.

Chicken: Protects against bone loss and Alzheimer’s disease, contains cancer-preventive nutrients and boosts cardiovascular health, according to the George Mateljan Foundation.

Fish: Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and mental decline with age, and lowers blood pressure, according to JAMA.

Why it’s good for your budget:

You can buy whole grains and beans in bulk and at a very low price. Chicken is less expensive than many red meats and can be even cheaper if you buy the whole bird. And canned fish is easier on the wallet than fresh catches and can be used in a variety of meals.

3. Make the switch to H2O.

Why it’s good for you:

Drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do for your body. It keeps you and your vital organs hydrated and flushes out nasty toxins. As far as how much to drink, let your body be your guide; drink enough water so you rarely feel thirsty.

Why it’s good for your budget:

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to see the cost savings of drinking tap water compared to bottled water, juice, soda pop, coffee, alcohol and pretty much any other liquid you can think of. 검증사이트

4. Buy in-season and frozen fruits and veggies.

Why it’s good for you:

The USDA recommends that the average adult gets one-and-a-half to two cups of fruit per day, and two to three cups of vegetables daily (depending on age, gender and level of physical activity).

The health benefits of a fruit- and vegetable-rich diets are too numerous to mention, but a few of the reasons mom told you to eat your greens include: reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and likely some cancers; lower risk of digestive problems and lower blood pressure, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Why it’s good for your budget:

Buying off-season fruits and veggies can be costly. Going frozen, on the other hand – and even canned, if you make sure to watch the sodium – can be cheap eats and still provide the same amount of nutrients as their fresh counterparts.

5. Avoid processed foods.

Why it’s good for you:

Processed foods contain many preservatives and additives – things that aren’t natural. Just take a look at the ingredients in one of your favorite processed foods. If you can’t pronounce or have no idea what the majority of ingredients are, you may want to consider putting that item back on the shelf.


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