Which Healthy Foods Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

The top nutritious and affordable food choices that medical experts and dietitians say will give you the most bang for your buck.

August 08, 2017
By: Katie Morton

Photo by: iStock

iStock

One of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease, and prolong your life is by eating a nutritious diet. However, with so many choices on grocery store shelves, it can be challenging to know where to spend your hard-earned money. Here are the top nutritious and affordable food choices that medical experts and dietitians say will give you the most bang for your buck.

1. Best Overall: Whole Foods

When in doubt, reach for whole foods rather than their processed equivalents. For example, a fresh apple is better for you than a pack of dried apple slices, just as shelled almonds are better for you than syrup-covered almond snacks. Minimally processed food is not only better for your health, but without extraneous packaging and preservatives, it's often a better choice for your wallet.

2. Best Clean Protein: Wild Caught Salmon

Wild caught salmon is one of the most nutritious proteins in the world. In fact, studies show that eating certain oily fish, including wild caught salmon, can add years to your life and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by an astounding 35 percent! Based on this promising research, the pros say that you get the most bang for your buck by enjoying salmon twice per week.

3. Best Leafy Green: Raw Kale

Kale is the nutrient-dense superstar of the green leafy vegetable category. Just a single cup of kale provides you with your daily requirements of Vitamins A, K, and C. Not to mention, leafy kale is brimming with antioxidants, essential amino acids, and bone-boosting calcium. Kale has been proven to reduce body-wide inflammation, which can help prevent the onset of autoimmune conditions, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Best of all, this disease-fighting, health-boosting powerhouse carries a wallet-friendly price at most local grocery stores. If raw kale doesn't make your mouth water, there are more appetizing ways to prepare this superfood. For instance, check out this recipe for Kale Pesto.

4. Best Vegetable: Avocado

The humble avocado is not only delicious, but it's packed with immune-boosting health benefits. Inside each creamy green center are more than 20 vitamins and minerals. Avocados also contain lots of healthy fat, which can assist with the regulation of blood sugar to help you feel full longer.

While there are cheaper veggie options on shelves, avocados are a great bang for your buck because just a little of this superfood goes a long way. The USDA's serving size is only 1/5 of an avocado . Also, avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally grown. Since their dense outer skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides and chemicals, you don't need to shell out the extra cash for organic.

5. Best Fruit: Bananas

The humble banana is loaded with multiple vitamins and vital minerals, including blood-pressure regulating potassium. Bananas control blood sugar spikes due to their large amounts of resistant starch and pectin. A banana's healthy combo of energy-boosting carbs and essential minerals make this delicious fruit a great post-workout option.

6. Best Snack: Almonds

Almonds are the perfect nutrient-dense, on-the-go snack food. Crunchy almonds are packed with protein, monounsaturated fats, plus fiber. This trifecta may help maintain a healthy weight as well as reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

7. Best Side Dish or Simple Dinner: Whole-wheat Pasta

Traditional boxed pasta has gotten a bad rap in today's carb conscious world, but the truth is that whole-wheat pasta is a nutritious choice. Whole-wheat pasta contains heart-boosting antioxidants and digestion friendly fiber. At just under $3 a box, whole-wheat pasta combined with olive oil, saut?ed veggies, and fresh tomatoes is a delicious, affordable option.

Healthy eating need not break the bank. When making your grocery lists and meal plans, fresh fruits, veggies, and clean proteins are the way to go. Healthy eating is an investment in your well being. So know, sometimes paying a little more for food can pay off in the long run, resulting in better health, fewer illnesses, and better vitality.

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