By Cara Rosenbloom, RD
Maximize nutrition and ingredients without breaking your budget
Some foods that are touted for their health benefits can also be expensive. Items such as chia seeds, quinoa and nuts are nutritious but not always affordable. The good news is that you can reap the same nutritional benefits from similar foods that cost much less.
Instead of quinoa, opt for oats or pot barley. Either of these options is filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and can be used to make anything from a warm breakfast cereal to a savory side dish. Oats and barley cost about half of what you’d pay for quinoa.
Instead of mixed nuts, buy peanuts, which are more affordable. You’ll get the same satisfying crunch, plus lots of protein and good-for-you unsaturated fats. The same is true for nut butters: Peanut butter is more affordable than almond or cashew butter.
Instead of chia seeds, choose flax seeds. They cost a third less and are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Instead of ground beef, try brown lentils. Both contain protein, but lentils are cheaper yet higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat compared to ground beef. You can also mix beef and lentils (in burgers, for example) for the best of both worlds.
Instead of pricey snack bars, make your own.
Instead of buying coffee or tea over the counter, make it at home. A $3 cup of tea? Buy tea bags instead for only cents per bag. These beverages help you stay hydrated, but the costs add up. Make them at home and tote them in a thermos. And bottle water yourself: Fill a reusable bottle with water from the tap. It costs less and is just as good as what you buy in the store.
TIP: Instead of pricey dried goji, acai or mulberries, stick with locally grown fresh fruits. Whether you like apples, berries or oranges, they
all contain beneficial antioxidants and vitamin C. Any fruit is a good choice.