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Eating Healthy on a Budget

The average American spends only 5.2% of disposable income on groceries. Yet, residents in up to 97% of U.S. counties struggle to access healthy food. For many, cost and availability are major factors. Depending on type, brand and season, prices may vary.

Luckily, the following foods can accommodate any budget at any time:

  • Beans – Beans are a staple in plant-based diets as a viable source of protein. They’re also high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals like potassium, zinc and iron. When eaten consistently, beans can improve heart health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Try this: Black bean and pineapple salsa.
  • Oats – This breakfast favorite is known for its soluble and insoluble fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Oats are also important for managing one’s blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. It’s particularly vital for those at risk for heart disease and diabetes. Try this: Overnight oats with raspberry and cherry chia jam.
  • Bananas – It’s common knowledge that bananas are a go-to source of potassium. But they also provide vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber and magnesium. Bananas are a naturally fat free food that’s both affordable and delicious. Try this: Granola banana pancakes.
  • Apples – This popular fruit is less than 100 calories per serving and an excellent source of antioxidants like quercetin, catechin and phlorizin. Regular consumption may protect you from cancer-causing free radicals. Try this: Homemade apple chips.
  • Cabbage – Cabbage is a nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable like kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. It’s high in vitamin C and vitamin K, which are important for blood and bone health, as well as the immune system. Cabbage can also improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Try this: Unstuffed cabbage soup.
  • Sweet Potatoes – This starchy vegetable has more than 6 grams of fiber, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It’s rich in beta-carotene, which is crucial for supporting the immune system and healthy vision. Try this: Slow cooker buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes.
  • Dried Lentils – As a member of the legume family, lentils are packed with both protein and fiber. They also contain polyphenols, which may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Try this: Slow cooker lemon lentil soup.
  • Broccoli – Broccoli is another cruciferous vegetable full of vitamins and minerals. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as aiding in digestion. Broccoli can also improve bone health due to its high levels of calcium and vitamin K. Try this: Broccoli salad with blueberries and walnuts.

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Photo credit: Tassii.

A Healthier Michigan
Author: A Healthier Michigan

Our mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.