By Emily Roberts MA, LPC
As I was checking out of my local health foods store last week, I had stunning realization. With less than ten items in my basket I had spent almost $50.00, were these products really worth the hefty price tag or did it make me “feel healthier” by purchasing them at this particular market? The question is, when it comes to our budget, are we getting the most for our money; are the foods we are choosing to spend money on really even worth the price? Below are 10 Superfoods that weight very little on your pocketbook, and heavy on your families nutrition needs.
1. Yogurt: look in your store’s dairy section and I guarantee you there is a sale on yogurt, even organic. I have seen it as low as .59 cents recently and if you by it in quart size or six packs it’s even less expensive. Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and natural probiotics that keep your child’s gut happy and healthy. It helps prevent cavities, increase immunity, and build strong bones. On the label look for “live active cultures” and avoid added sweeteners. Yogurt is an easy, on-the-go snack; add it to granola or cereal instead of milk for a tasty breakfast.
2. Strawberries:frozen strawberries are a steal, and can be purchased for under 3.oo dollars depending on the store you frequent. Real strawberries those are the ones that are whole and actually look like a strawberry; skip anything that says “strawberry flavor”, has artificial colorings, preservatives, or corn syrup. Fresh or frozen strawberries are high in vitamin C, are cancer fighters, and can decrease asthmatic symptoms. Remember to wash them well and pat dry. Fresh strawberries can be a sweet snack, and frozen ones can be added to yogurt, cereal, or smoothies.
3. Almonds: buying raw almonds in bulk can be as inexpensive as peanuts. Almond butter is usually around $4.00 for a 12 ounce jar. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, antioxidants, protein, and a high source of monounsaturated fat; good fat that keep your brain running smoothly. Almonds are also known to help prevent anemia, as it helps produce iron in one’s body. Add a handful of almonds to a salad, add to trail mix for healthy snack, or eat in “butter form”. Almond butter is a great source of protein and can be substituted for peanut butter.
4. Quinoa: At $1 a pound quinoa is inexpensive and nutrient dense. Quinoa is a complete protein and can substitute for less sustainable proteins. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. The texture is light and fluffy, which most kids love. Add beans for a great rice substitution and protein packed meal.
5. Black Beans: A can of these guys may run you $0.89-1.99 depending on the brand; never the less is a great substitution from refried beans or anything laden in lard. Black beans are a good source of foliate, dietary fiber, manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus, and iron.
6. Kale At just over a dollar a bunch, kale is a member of the dark, leafy greens group. It’s loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B as well as calcium, and has known cancer fighting properties. Kale is also known as a great source of soluble fiber, which many children (and adults) do not get enough of in their diets Use as an alternative to your usual steamed veggie, add to a stir fry or pasta dish, it is packed with more nutrients than your usual vegetable.
7. Blueberries: At less than $3.00 a container, even less for frozen, blueberries are easy on the budget, but packed with power. The antioxidant-rich fruit provides bodies with protection from sun damage, and have been shown to slow the rate of pre-cancerous cells; they also help boost immunity. Add some to a smoothie, yogurt, or cereal. Grab a handful as an alternative to a treat, their natural sweetness can curb any sugar craving.
So you don’t always have to break the bank when it comes to eating well. Maybe heading to the regular grocery store to stalk up on these basics is in order. For more information on Superfoods that are kid and family friendly check out http://www.superkidsnutrition.com/superfoods.php and awesome site for parents with information from dietitians and nutritionists.
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