Nutrition plays an important role in our lives, as it is what dictates how our body receives the essential nutrients needed to strengthen the immune system, burn energy, prevent diseases and have good health in general.
But we often hear statements like: “I cannot eat healthy, it is far too expensive”. In the media too, the super expensive, exotic foods are touted as THE superfoods for weight loss. You can get the feeling that a healthy diet is hardly affordable for losing weight.
However, if you think you are going to spend a small fortune buying these foods, you are wrong. A healthy, varied and balanced diet that promotes weight loss can be made with foods that are much closer to our reality than we think.
In this article, we will take a look at all the cheap food options that can help you lose weight fast on a budget! Also, I’ll be giving you some essential tips to help you with losing weight on a budget towards the end of this article, so keep reading!
Cheap & Healthy Foods That Can Help You With Weight Loss
Apple is a fruit that can be found throughout the year at good prices and in a wide variety of types. It contains high levels of vitamin B and C, fiber, water and very few calories.
Do note that most of these nutrients are found in the skin of the apple and so, its a good idea to not peel and throw it away. Also, don’t forget to wash them thoroughly before consuming.
As per a study, consuming an apple daily not only promotes good health but also causes people to consume fewer calories throughout the day, saving you those precious bills.
In addition to being sweet and caloric (don’t run away from those calories!), bananas have a viscosity that intensifies the feeling of fullness, as a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded. The banana still contains carbohydrates of slow absorption, so do not abuse it.
3. Leafy Green Vegetables
It is well known that you should eat a lot of vegetables if you want to lose weight. However, there is often a belief that fresh vegetables are very expensive. But that is not the case when you buy regional, seasonal products.
Vegetables like Swiss chard, broccoli, lamb’s lettuce, carrots, celery and fennel are usually very cheap. Otherwise, you can also use frozen vegetables if you fancy other varieties. Frozen vegetables are also very nutritious and inexpensive all year round.
Incidentally, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale are the most nutritious and therefore some of the healthiest vegetable options. Particularly noteworthy are the numerous vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that these varieties contain. These are nutrients that have positive effects on your immune system, your cardiovascular system and the rest of your health. Additionally, the fiber in these types of foods is probiotic, which means that they support the good bacteria in our intestines.
Since green leafy vegetables are also low in calories and high in fiber, you can eat your fill of them in a diet. So you are much less hungry overall.
You can incorporate vegetables into your diet at any time. We recommend eating vegetables raw, in order to utilize 100% of the benefits of the nutrients they contain. You can also use green leafy vegetables for smoothies.
4. Low-Fat Curd
Low-fat curd is a very popular budget-friendly food to incorporate in a weight loss diet. This is mainly due to its high protein content.
This milk product is very versatile and also ideally suited to be used in various forms and dishes (except in cases of veganism).
Low-fat curd contains around 12 grams of protein per 100 grams. On the one hand, the high-quality protein is important for maintaining your muscle mass when losing weight. And also, the high protein content makes you very full, which is extremely beneficial in a diet.
In addition to the positive effects on weight loss, it should also be noted that curd provides many valuable nutrients. These include, for example, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium. The probiotics in curd also have a positive effect on your intestinal bacteria.
Oatmeal is also one of the best foods to lose weight and has a very affordable price of just 50 cents per 500 grams. They offer you many good ingredients, such as vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and phosphorus. They also contain fiber, which will keep you full for a long time and help your digestion.
The soluble fiber beta-glucan deserves special mention. This is because it can reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. This can have a positive effect on the health of your blood vessels. Also, beta-glucans bind a lot of water, which makes them swell up and thus leads to very good satiety.
Oatmeal is a very high-quality carbohydrate that won’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall as quickly. This avoids cravings that can affect your weight loss success. You can vary the delicious cereal flakes in a variety of ways, so they don’t get boring and you can incorporate them into your diet more often.
Hardly anyone thinks of potatoes when it comes to weight loss foods. And that’s a shame because they have valuable nutrients and are readily available, low in calories and very cheap.
Potatoes contain vitamin B, calcium and potassium, among other things. They also provide a lot of fiber, which keeps you feeling full. Compared to pasta and rice, potatoes are a low-calorie source of carbohydrates, making them perfect for a diet.
Potatoes are especially popular as a side dish. And they can be consumed in various forms. For example, you can eat them mashed, as fried potatoes, jacket potatoes or wedges from the oven. If you want to save calories, you should especially prefer low-fat preparation methods. So stop eating those fries as soon as you get the next chance!
Despite the fact that there are many myths about eating eggs, the truth is that this food is a positive part of the diet and can contribute to a healthy and natural weight loss. Eggs contain the important vitamin B12, which controls metabolism.
Protein offers a higher level of sufficiency when compared to fats and carbohydrates, eggs being an excellent option. Not only because they are animal proteins with fewer calories, but also because they are full of protein.
Also, eggs are essential for the development of muscle mass which can improve physical performance. It is best to eat boiled eggs, preferably without the egg yolk. Avoid frying them or combining them with other foods such as sausages or bacon. Or try an omelet with one yolk and two egg whites and you will be sorted for quite some time.
8. Fish and Seafood
Fish should be part of any healthy diet for natural weight loss, as it is filling, contains healthy fats, helps to lower cholesterol levels, and is also packed with proteins and important nutrients that will contribute to a slimmer figure.
But on a regular menu, fish and shellfish are what make any meal expensive. But it doesn’t have to be this way if we know which fish to choose.
What is certain is that you will not find many of the fish on this list of the cheapest ones in the supermarket, but you will have to go to the market to get them. Some of the types of fish that we highly recommend include:
- White bream
- Bighead octopus
Frozen fish can also be a good option for your menus. You can find some really good saver deals in supermarkets and frozen food stores.
It is best to fry or grill the fish in a little bit of oil or bake it in the oven with natural herbs and spices.
We all know that soup is a friend of ours when it comes to being satiated, but there are even more effective soups, such as broths.
Although you can choose a vegetable broth, it is the meat broths (more specifically of the bones) that provide a greater sense of satisfaction, avoiding hunger spikes shortly after eating. A soup with rice and chicken is also a good option (but pay attention to the skin of the chicken, which will add fat to the broth).
Loved by some, hated by others, peas are an excellent source of soluble fiber, the one that most promotes satiety. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and protein.
If we crave something sweet, we can eat some of the fruits mentioned above to satisfy our appetite. But what if we fancy something salty? Popcorn is a real-life savior in this scenario.
No, we are not talking about cinema popcorn filled with sugar, butter and dyes, we are talking about homemade popcorn. A study released by the Nutrition Journal shows that consuming 100 grams of homemade popcorn makes people feel less hungry than those who ate 150 grams of industrial popcorn.
The secret is in the crunchy texture, which encourages the chewing process (determinant for the feeling of fullness).
It is well known that both tea and coffee are products that accelerate metabolism and serve to burn more calories from our body, but in this case, we focus on tea.
Without going any further, the ‘Journal of the American College of Nutrition’ published a study carried out by the University of Granada in which they assured that people who regularly drink green tea have a lower body mass than those who do not take it.
Specifically, green tea has a great cleansing and antioxidant power, so it also has an important anticancer effect and also helps in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. In eastern cultures, this plant is also related to the delaying of aging.
Also published in the Nutrition Journal, another study found that including half an avocado in a snack leads to a 24% drop in the desire to eat three hours after the last meal.
Avocado is rich in healthy fat and an excellent source of fiber.
It must be remembered that nuts are very good for health, but in no case can we abuse them.
As published by a group of scientists from Harvard University, a handful of nuts a day will help you lose abdominal fat effectively, in addition to helping you excrete more calories.
Eating slowly is the way to youth and to resist gluttony. Foods that are hard to eat, such as unshelled pistachios, are great allies in the weight loss process, since people end up consuming a smaller amount than if they were eating pistachios already peeled.
Meat from meat farms is very expensive. But don’t worry, you don’t need meat as a source of protein all the time. Plant-based protein sources are also great for meeting your protein needs.
Rich in protein (9 grams per 100 grams), lentils have a low glycemic index, that is, they prevent blood sugar spikes and, consequently, the sudden urge to eat.
Almost all of the essential amino acids are present in lentils. These are the amino acids that the body cannot produce itself. If you combine them with whole grains, such as pasta or bread, you get an even higher quality source of protein.
Lentils not only contain a lot of protein, but also high-quality carbohydrates and a lot of fiber. As a result, they fill you up very well and stimulate your digestion. Since there are so many different varieties, they don’t get boring either!
Another must-have for healthy eating. This pseudocereal is the delight of those looking for good protein and that is easy to cook.
In addition, it also has a low glycemic index, so it is gradually absorbed (yes, quinoa is mainly a carbohydrate, but its high protein levels end up standing out).
18. Wheat Bran
Fiber, fiber and more fiber. Wheat bran flakes are cereals with more fiber, fewer calories and lots of nutrients.
Its versatility works wonders in cooking and its high water content is an asset for health and fitness. It is delightfully made up of 95% water and lots of soluble fiber (especially in the shell).
Tips to Help You Lose Weight on a Budget
- Be Flexible: Don’t stick to a predetermined idea when shopping. The idea is not that on Monday “I will make broccoli with sundried tomato vinaigrette and steamed hake with vegetables“. The idea is that on Monday you are going to eat vegetables and fish, so when you go to the market you can see which vegetables and fish are better priced and thus get a cheaper menu.
- Plan the weekly menu – with breakfasts, lunches and dinners because it prevents you from improvising and ending up throwing out precooked items – much more expensive and much less healthy – and that way, you avoid having food scraps that you will end up throwing away after going around the fridge.
- Go to the market and several supermarkets and choose the brands that have the best value for money for the food items that you need to buy.
- Cooking at home is basic, but this doesn’t mean you have to chain yourself to pots and pans. You can make easy and inexpensive recipes that fit perfectly into your diet to lose weight. What’s more, you can have bases made or a batch cooking plan to cook almost everything for the week in one morning.
- Incorporate cheap foods that have a bad reputation but in reality, contrary to what the myths say, do not make you fat, such as legumes or potatoes.
- Opt for seasonal vegetables and fruits, which in addition to being more sustainable are cheaper.
As you can see, healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need trendy foods that are advertised everywhere to lose weight.
A varied diet with cheap, nutritious foods can help you lose weight without having to spend a lot of money. You can use our list for many delicious dishes and combine them in different ways. This will help you diversify your diet.
Does healthy nutrition always have to be expensive? What are your thoughts on this topic? Are there other healthy and inexpensive foods that you like to use? Leave a comment below and let us know!