Low on cash, but want to eat healthy? Here are some pocket-friendly choices.
Eating healthy seems to come with a huge price-tag. Sadly, in the supermarket aisles all the food items that are tagged healthy are way more expensive than the so-called ‘unhealthy’ ones. You do want to eat healthy, but are not up for spending a bomb on those healthy options, well, what do you do then? The thing with eating healthy is that you need to balance your carbs and protein intake and also add some fibre and anti-oxidants for high quality meals. The best route to take is to begin by planning a smart meal!
The perennial sandwich is your best bet and it need not be blah’
Thanks to the wonderful variety of breads that are now available, you can really go all-out to make your sandwich lunch healthy and filling. Use wholegrain or dark breads and layer them with lots of raw salad veggies and even lightly cooked ones like peppers, zucchini, sweet corn.
Add in some protein like grilled chicken, fish, turkey meat, low-fat ricotta or other cheese, boiled eggs or hummus (for a vegetarian alternative). Some micro-greens or herbs will add freshness to the sandwich. Then season it for some zing. And if you want to take make the best of your daily meals then go ahead and add fresh fruits to your lunch. When you vary your vegetables and proteins, as also your breads, you can come up with exciting combinations that are not boring and blah.
Do rice and pasta get a nay?
Polished rice is a nay, but there are many cooler strains of rice. Brown rice has fibre and makes for slower carb release and so does whole-wheat and other non-grain pastas that are now available in a wide range of variations.
Any of these filling carbohydrate sources can be combined with some low-calorie sauce or dressing after cooking. Add any protein source for a balanced meal. And don’t be shy with vegetables, nuts and seeds for extra nutrition and taste. When made at home, these are not expensive lunches either, keeping your diet wholesome but without burning a hole in your pocket!
Turn your salad bowl into one that is delish to the eye and mouth, both!
Salads do not need to be boring. A salad can be a healthy and filling alternative to a meal, since a power salad contains all the foods a meal does. You can mix and match as per taste and availability:
Carbs — Use quinoa, cold pasta, cooked grains, pearl barley, bulgur, noodles, wild rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes that are good carbohydrate sources.
Protein — Salmon, chicken, turkey, boiled eggs, prosciutto, cheese, beans add to the protein component of a power salad. You can get added protein and crunch when you include peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts or other nuts. Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted sesame seeds add taste and nutrition.
Vitamins and Minerals — Apart from your usual salad leafy vegetables, you can use tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, spinach, edamame beans, steamed vegetables, apples and pears, berries, citrus fruits and even some dried fruits. Use light and low-calorie dressings that you can carry separately with you if you are packing the salad. A glass of milk (or milk beverage) or a cup of yoghurt will pack a nutritive punch.