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Healthiest food buys to get more bang for your buck


Pantry essentials that are healthy and budget friendly

Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to eat heavily processed, unhealthy foods.  Here's a round-up of my favorite inexpensive ingredients that are healthy and budget-conscious.

Keep these ten ingredients on hand and you can always throw together a quick and healthy meal or snack.  As a bonus, when you're feeling decadent, most can be used to whip up something a little naughty.

Top Ten Healthy Food Buys for Pennies a Serving

1. Oats
Buy a canister of old fashioned oats, not the quick cooking kind.  Oats are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and  oats can help lower your cholesterol. For a few dollars you can buy a canister of old fashioned oats that will take you through a month of healthy breakfasts like Yogurt, Oat and Fruit Muesli.  Oats are a great ingredient for those days when you're feeling naughty too - use them to makeOld Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies.
 
 
2. Eggs
Eggs are an inexpensive source of high quality protein.  Buy a dozen for a couple of bucks and prepare them your favorite way.  They can be prepared lots of different ways, including this Crowd-Pleasing Breakfast Casserole or a quick and easy Egg and Veggie Scramble.
 
 
3. Potatoes
Potatoes have a bad wrap, but they can be healthy if prepared without frying.  Pop one in the microwave and you can have a healthy baked potato in under ten minutes.  They are an excellent source of potassium and fiber.  Try topping a baked potato with cottage cheese for a low-fat super filling meal, or use them as a base for a serving of veggie filled Southwest Scramble.   
 
4. Apples
Apples are cheap (particularly in the fall) and are an easy go-to fruit to make sure you get in a little fruit each day.  They last for months if stores in the fridge and are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.   Try throwing a few quartered apples in the crock pot the next time you make a Slow Roasted Pork Loin with Vegetables or make it the main ingredient in a decadent dessert like Apple Walnut Cake with Molasses Whiskey Glaze.
 
5. Nuts
Buy nuts in bulk when you find them on sale.  They are loaded with good fats and protein and make the perfect topping for a salad, or try having a handful mixed with raisins for a healthy snack.
 
6. Tuna
Canned or fresh-packed tuna goes on sale routinely and can serve as a great protein source.  Buy water-packed instead of oil packed to keep it low fat and try mixing up a variety of tuna salad recipes.  Don't go with the old standard, instead keep tuna exciting and tasty with recipes like Tuna White Bean Salad.
 
7. Canned Beans or Peas
The opportunities are as endless as the varieties available.  Whether you prefer garbanzos, black beans, white beans, kidney beans or crowder peas, there's a canned bean out their that's perfect for every dish.  You can often find store brand canned beans for far less than a dollar per can.  Make sure you drain and rinse canned beans to get rid of excess sodium and then enjoy this protein and fiber packed treat as a topping for a salad, a quick side dish or serve alongside some rice for a filling main dish.
 
8. Spinach
Spinach is packed full of Vitamin C, iron, and trace minerals.  Buy it fresh to make yummy dished like Spinach and Strawberry Salad or stock up on frozen spinach to stir into spaghetti sauce or saute with garlic and olive oil for a quick and healthy side.
 
9. Broccoli
Broccoli contains calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. It also contains phytonutrients that  may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.  It can be naughty like when used in Broccoli and Bacon Salad or oh-so-nice when greening up comfort food like Chicken and Rice with Vegetables.
 
10. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of the most versatile ingredients out there and the store brands are just as tasty as the name brands for about half the price.  It's packed with protein and good fat.  Keep it simple with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or three ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies or spice it up with Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce with Vegetables.

Resources:  Find more shopping tips and tricks to help you cut down on your grocery bill  and when to stock up on fruit and veggies. Find out where to get printable and downloadable coupons.


 Have questions, a money saving tip, or want to share your favorite recipe? Email me at memphisbudgetmeals@gmail.com

For more about champagne tastes on a beer budget, read my blog or follow me on twitter.

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