The worst part about healthy eating is the number that comes up on the register when you are at the check out. I always think to myself, “Why is it so expensive to treat my body well!?”. Between competing in pageants and boxing matches, I must keep my weight in a very specific place, and it gets pricey to keep up on my constant diet. Over the years I have discovered ways to maximize my nutrition and my grocery budget at the same time. Here are my secrets:
Spinach contains large amounts of Iron, which is crucial for women to consume consistently as we are more likely to develop mild anemia due to our menstrual cycles causing fatigue and exhaustion. A whole bag of spinach can be found at most grocery stores for $4.00 or less. Spinach is also great for your skin, preventing wrinkles, psoriasis and acne. Spinach can be eaten a thousand different ways, my favorite is to blend it up with some fruit and protein powder before or after a workout.
My ultimate favorite of all the super foods is the banana. They are incredibly cheap being sold at less than $1.00/lb in most grocery stores. They are a quick take along snack that come in their very own wrapper! Banana’s are high in natural sugars so they are a perfect pick-me-up snack for the 3:00 p.m. crash a lot of us experience. Bananas are high in Potassium as well, so they’re perfect for athletes. Consuming banana’s will assist your muscles in recovery and regeneration. Also, promotes calcium absorption and works as a natural laxative.
Villainized for years, the egg is finally making its comeback in the nutrition world. While it is true that yolks are high in cholesterol, the yolk is the most nutrient dense part of the egg. When eaten in healthy amounts (I scramble together 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites), whole eggs have incredible benefits. The list of vitamins and minerals goes on and on: Vitamin A, D, E, K, B6, B12; Calcium, Carotenoids, Choline, Copper, Folate, Folic Acid, Iron, Lecithin, Magnesium, Manganese, Omega-3’s, Potassium, Phosphorous, Riboflavin, Selenium, Zinc, and is a significant source of Protein. That sounds like the label on a multivitamin, except eggs are cheaper around $3.00/dozen or even less!
Besides being a multi-purpose beauty product (teeth whitener, hair & skin moisturizer, etc.), coconut oil is a nutrient-rich source of “good” fat. It contains healthy, fatty acid chains which increase insulin production to help your body control blood sugar levels. Studies done in the Pacific Islands, where people ingest high percentages of coconut oil, have shown significantly lower cases of cardiovascular disease. Lastly, the body doesn’t store this type of fat as “fat”, it goes directly to the liver and becomes an energy source to help push you through that long workout or study session. A 54-oz container of coconut oil runs about $25.00 on Amazon or Costco. Try coconut oil as a substitute for butter or olive oil when cooking, or blend it up in smoothies.
These little guys have been getting a lot of great PR lately, and for a good reason! A bag of Chia Seeds costs about $14.00 at Costco, and it will last one person about 3 months if you are eating a few servings a week. Chia seeds contain Anti-oxidants, Iron, Omega-3, Protein, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Magnesium. They are tasteless, and can be hidden in oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, or simply mixed with water or juice and drank straight. They expand when wet, so they will help keep you full. They can replace eggs in recipes if you are vegan/vegetarian, or make a great healthy dessert pudding.