Making healthy choices is tough, especially when unhealthy choices are often more accessible and affordable. Coupled with the fact that trendy healthy stuff like cold-pressed juices are costly, grabbing that value meal from McDonald’s or that greasy food court takeout seems pretty ideal when it’s days away from payday.
The secret to eating healthy on a broke girl’s budget? Preparing your own meals and planning ahead, of course. So while you’re contemplating on how to make your next meal healthier than the last, we took the liberty of finding out what you need to add to your grocery list. Don’t worry, these won’t break the bank:
Brown Rice, about RM20 for 5kgs – Brown rice has more fiber and a lower glycemic index than white rice, which will give you a steadier energy level and a way better bang for your buck. This is due to the fact that brown rice does not go through as many processes as white rice, which removes natural nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber and vitamin E. Even if you fry brown rice, the calories aren’t nearly as high as starchy white rice.
Frozen Berries & Vegetables, about RM15 or lower for 500gms – Though fresh produce seems ideal and “fresh”, research has shown that frozen fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients than fresh produce. After 3 days of picking, the nutrient content in fruits and vegetables drops significantly as compared to frozen fruits that are processed shortly after picking. The best part? You don’t need to worry about it going bad and it tastes just as great, if not better, in smoothies or swirled in some greek yoghurt.
Canned Salmon, about RM10 or lower, for 170gms – Let’s face it – salmon is significantly pricey in the tropics. So on those broke days where you have a sudden hankering for salmon, stroll towards the canned food aisle and you’d find a budget “fancy fish” dinner in your hands. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and heart attacks. Though canned salmon may be a slightly acquired taste, you can still whip up some pretty good salmon burgers quickly with this baby.
Greek Yoghurt, about RM10 for 500gms – With three times the protein of regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt’s popularity comes from the fact that it’s just better for you in every way – even in taste. Do yourself a favour and grab a tub of the full-fat kind as full-fat dairy helps your body absorb the nutrients better while aiding digestion. Top it off with some frozen berries, some granola and that’s dessert for you.
Canned Beans, about RM5 for 400gms – Canned beans are easily the unsung heroes of the canned food aisle – they’re cheap and filled with copious amounts of proteins and fibers. Garbanzo or black beans are great to toss in a salad or mashed together with a little lemon juice and olive oil as a dip.
Get your health on, girls.