Eating healthy is difficult, but not for the reasons you might think. Healthy foods don’t have to taste bland, nor do they have to ruin your appetite just by looking at them.
The main problem with healthy foods is that they cost so much compared to their unhealthy counterparts. That’s why most people choose to eat chips over fresh fruit, especially when you consider how much more dense the calories are in unhealthy food that’s the same price as healthy alternatives.
The good news is that there are cheap, healthy foods you can grab off the shelf and eat with minimal preparation. Let’s examine 7 of those inexpensive foods you can eat to help reduce your intake of unhealthy sustenance.
1 – Nonfat Greek Yogurt
There are many types of yogurt, but the healthiest is nonfat Greek yogurt. It’s made by straining off the parts of milk that make regular yogurt creamy and fattening.
The best part about nonfat Greek yogurt is that it contains less empty calories and more beneficial nutrients like protein, which helps you maintain a feeling of fullness, and calcium, which helps to build stronger bones.
Nonfat Greek yogurt is inexpensive, and can generally be acquired in packs of 6 to 12 for under $2.
2 – Popcorn
If you trim down the extras by keeping the toppings to a minimum, then you also have a snack that’s light on the calories while being rich in fiber, the latter of which contributes to a feeling of fullness.
3 – Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is essentially regular chocolate that lacks the extra milk. This makes it significantly healthier while giving it a unique flavor and texture.
The best part about dark chocolate is that it provides nutrients like copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. It has a large amount of antioxidants, which can help with heart health and inflammation. It even can help lower blood pressure while keeping your cholesterol in check.
4 – Grapes
To top things off, you can eat just a few grapes at a time as a snack. This can be a low-calorie move that will keep you from overeating.
5 – Kale
Kale is one of the healthiest green vegetables that you can eat. It helps with everything from your digestive system to reducing your risk of cancer.
The power of kale comes from at least 45 flavonoids kale possesses in addition to numerous vitamins and minerals. The flavonoids in kale have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can further help your health and reduce your risk for heart disease.
The best part is that you can eat kale by itself, in a salad or after being mixed with other fruits and vegetables. Kale smoothies are one particularly yummy way to ingest this awesome food.
6 – Water
While water should be considered more of a drink than food, you might want to think of substituting it for a snack.
The reason is that water can add to a feeling of satiety. It’s also necessary in the oxidation of fats, which can help you lose weight more efficiently. Other vital parts of your body, such as your digestive tract and cardiovascular system, also need ample amounts of water to continue functioning properly.
7 – Grapefruit
Grapefruit has natural antioxidants that promote cardiovascular health. It has vitamins and minerals that promote happy, healthy and radiant skin. It even has compounds that can aid in boosting your metabolism, as one study found that half a grapefruit with each meal allowed participants to lose 3.5 pounds over a 12-week period.
Becoming Healthy Starts with Small Steps
The decision to begin eating healthy doesn’t have to be a drastic one. By substituting the foods listed above for parts of your meal or as healthier snack choices, you can begin trimming those extra pounds starting today.
The one thing you have to remember is that no amount of diet changes alone will shed those pounds. You need to stick with your exercise and diet before that flab will melt away.
Grapefruit image source: Flickr
Jennifer Livingston is a fitness and nutrition expert from Hopkinsville, KY. While preparing to raise her first first child she enjoys sharing her expertise on topics such as exercise, dieting, and organic living.