The rising cost of living is affecting us all. Everyone’s wallet is being strained by the rising cost gas for your car, heat for your home, and food for your family.
In 2007, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food rose by 4.0 percent, the highest annual increase since 1990. The CPI for food in 2008 is steadily on the rise with forecasts this year expected to increase another 5.0 to 6.0 percent as retailers continue to pass down higher commodity and energy costs to consumers in the form of higher retail prices.
You certainly don’t need me to tell you that your food bill has gone through the roof. It’s a reality for all of us during these tough economic times, but with a little creativity you can still find many affordable, nutritious foods at your local farmers market or grocery store, that won’t break the bank.
Listed Below are Eight of the Best Nutrient-Packed Food Choices you can Buy for Around $1 Per Serving.
- Raw Nuts and Seeds:
Sunflower seeds, raw, 1 oz. = $0.82
Mixed raw nuts, 1/2 oz. = $1.00
Nuts are a good source of protein, as long as they aren’t eaten in excess. The reason for moderation is that, except for walnuts, almost all nuts are top heavy in omega-6 fats and can upset the omega 6/omega 3 ratio. The average American has an omega 6:3 ratio of 15:1. It should be 1:1. Therefore, any amount of omega-6 fat is not a good thing for most Americans. We suggest eating pecans, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
Seeds are also a good option. They have fewer carbohydrates than nuts, so they are a little less problematic. Two recommendations are flax seeds and chia seeds, which are high in the desirable omega-3 fats.
To summarize, raw nuts and seeds can be an economical, healthful addition to your diet if eaten in moderation, particularly walnuts, flax and chia seeds.
- Spinach: 5 oz. fresh organic spinach = $0.95
Popeye was right. Eat your spinach. Regardless of your nutritional type, eating more vegetables is recommended for everyone. Spinach is high in antioxidants and rich in folic acid, which can help lower blood pressure. Some research has shown that it might be the “brain food” needed to help avoid memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Two Free Range Organic Eggs: $0.84
Eggs are one of the most healthful foods in the world. However, not all eggs are equal. There is mounting evidence of a large nutritional difference between true free-range chicken eggs and commercially farmed eggs. This is a result of the diets eaten by the two groups of chickens.It is important to make sure to look for free-range organic eggs when shopping at the grocery store. The USDA defines “free-range” as chickens that have “access to the outside”. This does not specify whether the “outside” is a field for foraging or a cement courtyard and does not define their diets.
- Raw Organic Milk, 8 oz: $0.62
Despite the bad press that raw milk has received, it is one of the best foods out there for nutrient value. Not only does raw milk taste better than pasteurized milk, it contains more nutrients that are beneficial because they haven’t been destroyed by heat.
- Berries: 1 cup fresh organic berries = $0.95
Berries are among the best fruits you can eat. They taste great and are packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals that can do wonders to normalize and improve your health. They are high in fiber and low in sugar, so they won’t cause drastic insulin swings if eaten in moderation.The best way to eat berries is in their raw, natural state, since heating and freezing can damage some of the antioxidants. Some of the best value choices are cranberries and strawberries, which are loaded with powerful antioxidants and nutrients.
- Watermelon: One-pound slice = $0.59
Watermelon isn’t just for kids. This juicy family picnic favorite has many health benefits as well.Like berries, watermelon is loaded with phytochemicals, including lycopene, beta-carotene, and citrulline. When citrulline is consumed, it is converted to arginine. Arginine is an amino acid that has beneficial effects on the heart and circulatory system, as well as the immune system.
- Garlic: 2 cloves = $0.05
Garlic boosts your body’s natural abilities to protect you from hypertension and osteoporosis, and research is mounting that it decreases your risk for various forms of cancer. It is a potent antimicrobial as well, working as a natural antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic agent.You must eat garlic fresh. You can add 1-2 cloves to your vegetable juice to cut down on the pungent taste. The chlorophyll in the juice also tends to cut down on the potentially offensive garlic odor.
- Wild Rice: One serving = $0.99 Wild rice towers over other grains when it comes to nutritional content. It is higher in protein, fiber, minerals, B vitamins, folic acid, and complex carbohydrates. It is also rich in niacin, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
These economic times are challenging for everyone, but with a little time and effort, you can find healthy ways to eat within you budget.