Eating Healthy Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that nearly 10% of the U.S. population has nutrition deficiencies. With so much access to food banks and nutrition programs, how could this be?

Maybe it is because many people don't know what it means to eat a healthy meal. Or perhaps some are convinced eating healthy is expensive. However, most produce is cheap compared to the boxed dinners and ready-made meals, and free recipes are on the internet. There is no one reason why more people shouldn't be healthier.

The following are a few food items that are healthy for you, but don't cost a lot of money. Being a single mom of four, I had to get creative with my grocery budget, and was able to create dishes even my kids would eat. 

Broccoli - Fresh broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and may boost your immune system. It also contains vitamin K and folate, both of which play a role in blood clotting and preventing certain birth defects. 

Onions - Onions may protect against heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. They provide vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Fresh Spinach - Spinach is rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. It also provides vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and manganese. Like other green leafy veggies, spinach has the ability to reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage.

Russet potatoes - Potatoes have a significant amount of vitamins C and B. They also contain fiber, which supports digestion and appetite control, and potassium.

Sweet potatoes - Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body.  It also contains B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

Tomatoes - Tomatoes are the most frequently consumed canned vegetable in the American diet. They contain vitamins C, B, A, E, and K.  Many of its benefits come from a tomato's lycopene content. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may reduce inflammation, protect cells from damage and lower the risk of disease.

Other foods that are good for you and great on a budget are carrots, cabbage, butternut squash, brown rice, legumes, and quinoa, a grain similar to rice but contains antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, manganese, zinc, and several other minerals.

Most of these foods can be bought for pennies on the dollar, but you have to remember that you get what you pay for. You can go to higher-priced supermarkets, where cost of merchandise is higher, or opt to go to the less glamorous stores, such as Aldi, where the merchandise tends to be cheaper over all. If you would rather buy organic, you will have to pay a little bit more, especially if you choose to go to an organic food outlet store. 

The main thing is to choose foods that are healthy for you, instead of wasting your money on empty calories, such as chips and snack cakes, which have no nutritional value and cost so much more.