I summarized this list of 17 healthy and cheap food items from the March 2011 issue of ShopSmart, one of my favorite magazines. I put the benefits of each food in parenthesis. How many of these foods do you eat regularly?
1. Cabbage – $.16 per serving (vitamin A and C). I eat cabbage raw as a salad with lemon juice and chopped cilantro, or with broken up Ramen noodles, almonds, tangerines, cooked chicken, and an Asian-style salad dressing.
2. Canned unsweetened pumpkin – $.38 per serving (beta carotene). Use in muffins, breads, and pancakes.
3. Dried plums – $.31 per serving (antioxidants, fiber, potassium). Prunes and other dried fruit is a healthy way to satisfy sugar cravings.
4. Frozen blueberries – $.66 per serving (antioxidants). Mix them into pancakes, muffins, and smoothies.
5. Kale – $.37 per serving (vitamins A, C, and E). Use in soups, stews, and casseroles. I saute Kale in a little water for about 15 minutes, then continue cooking in butter and garlic for another five until tender.
6. Canned tomatoes – $.28 per serving (antioxidants).
7. Plain yogurt – $.70 per serving (calcium, bacteria to aid digestion). Eat with cereal, mix into muffins and breads, or eat with potatoes.
8. Oats – $.28 per serving (fiber). One of my favorite breakfasts and cookie ingredients!
9. Edamame and green peas – $.25 per serving (fiber and protein). I love eating edamame as it is served in sushi joints – with a dash of sea salt.
10. Popcorn – $.12 per serving (fiber). ShopSmart recommends nixing the butter in favor of a squirt of cooking spray (olive, vegetable, or canola oil) and sprinkling with chili powder or oregano. Cooking raw kernels in a pan is easier than you think! I just wish this tasty treat didn’t get stuck in my teeth.
11. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) – $.50 per serving (fiber and protein). Use in place of rice.
12. Whole grain spaghetti – $.23 per serving (fiber). The taste of whole grain spaghetti takes getting used to, but works especially well with flavorful sauces, roasted cauliflower or eggplant.
13. Dried brown lentils – $.27 per serving ( protein, fiber, folic acid). Use lentils instead of pasta or rice.
14. Eggs – $.18 per egg (protein). Toss into salads, boil for a quick snack, or eat for breakfast.
15. Frozen turkey – $1.59 per pound (lean protein).
16. Tofu – $.48 per serving (omega-3s, protein). Marinate for most flavorful results as tofu at its worst is bland. I once made chocolate mousse with tofu and no one discovered my secret ingredient!
17. Peanuts in the shell – $.12 per serving ( protein). Great for snacks and stir frys, or chop finely and dust on fish.
I eat seven of these food regularly, and want to start eating edamame again. It’s so tasty!