How To Follow the Current Health Trends on a Budget

(Photo courtesy of grapplergourmet.com)

An almond is an almond, no matter where you get it. You don’t have to go to an organic specialty store just to buy healthy groceries. Health food trends can easily burn a hole in your wallet, but here are a few ways to get around the expensive costs of being nutritious.

Dehydrated Vegetables

These are the perfect substitute to fill the void of chips and other savory snacks. They are actually a lot easier to make than it seems and you can do it right at home. All it takes is a little preparation and baking. Start by slicing the fruits and veggies into thin quarter-inch slices (thicker fruits and vegetables work best, like strawberries, carrots, squash, and zucchini.) Add a little salt for seasoning. Spray a thin layer of Pam on a long piece of parchment paper and place it onto a baking sheet. Lay all of the fruit and veggie slices out on the parchment paper-covered baking sheet, (make sure not to overlap any of the slices. Use additional pans if necessary). Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, usually between 100 and 170ºF, (115ºF and below is ideal for dehydrating, but most ovens cannot get that low). Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven. Prop the oven door open with a rolled up piece of aluminum foil, about 2-inches thick. This will allow for air circulation and ensure proper dehydration, (be careful as the aluminum “stick” will be hot to the touch). “Dehydrate” (bake) for 4-5 hours, checking on the stiffness/dryness of the fruits and veggies every hour. The next thing you know, you have a delicious batch of homemade dehydrated goods that save you money and a trip to the grocery store.

(Photo courtesy of sarahlearns.com)

Cold Pressed Juice

This may be time consuming, but it’s cheaper to make your own juices at home. You don’t even need a juicer! All you need is a standard blender, your favorite fruit and veggie combinations, and water. Depending on your ingredients, you can make three homemade juices for the price of one store-bought juice. You can also easily beat the store-bought taste of fruits that were cut day or two ago. After all, nothing tastes better than fresh fruits and veggies when they’re first sliced.

Let’s say you want to make an orange, beet, celery, lemon, and ginger juice. Start by dicing your fruit and veggie choices as small as you can. Blend the texturized items first. In this case, blend the orange with a half-cup of water until smooth. Then blend the celery, followed by the ginger and lemon. Then add the beets with another half-cup of water and blend until smooth. To make any combination of fruits and veggies more juice-like (less smoothie-like), dilute with water and blend everything together in the blender again. Pour into a glass, and enjoy!

Fiber-Packed Grains

The grain generation is back in action with new ways to use Old World grains in daily meals, one-of-a-kind dinners, and desserts. Quinoa, freekeh, and farro are as affordable as pasta, but full of fiber and keep you fuller, longer.

You can find any of these fiber-packed grains at your local grocery store.

Try following a day's grain flow using a different grain for each meal.

Kale

Through the fever popularity of kale, it feels like there has been a shortage because of the dramatic price increase. Don’t give in. The trending leaf is cheap in places where the trend hasn’t exploded. Try your local grocery stores first, and then compare the prices to those at another grocery store in an area that is more remote. In New York City, don’t buy your kale in midtown. Just a subway ride away, travel to more remote neighborhoods in Brooklyn or northern Manhattan where kale is a side dish, not an accessory.

(Photo courtesy of veganyumminess.com)

Avocados

California is renowned for its sumptuous avocados, but it’s hard to find a good one in NYC. However, this should not defeat your effort. If you’re looking for a ripe, ready-to-eat avocado, try the fruit vendors that display their carts on the sides of streets in the most populated areas. Don’t be wary of the vendors. At first, the quality seems skeptical, but most vendors are good caretakers of their fruits and veggies. They also offer lower prices than their in-store competition, which gives them a good rapport but also keeps some extra money in your pocket.

(Photo courtesy of readynutrition.com)

Antioxidants

You know that you feel satisfyingly healthy when you buy that $6 bottle of 4-ounce red juice that is jam-packed with antioxidants. You have a few options- don’t break the bank when you don’t have to. Red juices are deliciously healthy and you can easily make them at home. With just one cup each of raspberries, cranberries, cherries, and strawberries your serving intake of antioxidants is a concentration of 25,852-antioxidant capacity. Although individually these berries are pricey, ranging about $3 per package, you are getting at least 3 servings of berries. After spending $12 on the initial packages, you can make at least four red juices at that cost. In foresight, you are saving an additional $12 by making your red juices at home.

If you are looking for an even higher intake and cheaper, more substantial meal, try making a bean soup. With just one cup each of small red beans, red kidney beans, black beans, a cooked russet potato, and a half-cup of prunes, it makes for a delicious kick with a serving intake of antioxidants with a concentration of 43,107-antioxidant capacity. (Plus all the fiber you’re getting). For more information on antioxidants, take a look at the chart below.

(Photo courtesy of usda.com)

Don’t break the bank when you don’t have to. Cut corners around current health trends when you can. After all, an almond is an almond, no matter where you get it.

-C

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  Courtney McKamey   |    2018     ©   copyright all rights reserved