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Fantastic Frugal Foods Part 2

Enjoy These Five Fantastic Frugal Foods: Part 2 of 7
First Read Part 1

1.      Oatmeal
            If I had to pick just one frugal food, oatmeal would probably be it. Now I’m not talking about the oatmeal that is refined and comes with all the sugar and maple syrup already in it that they market to little kids. When I say oatmeal I mean 100% rolled oats. One of the cheapest foods on the list, 100% rolled oats are an incredible source of complex carbohydrates. You can purchase several pounds of oatmeal for just a few dollars and your carbohydrates are covered for weeks. With no sugars and no saturated fats, there is no downside to this food choice. Oatmeal contains plenty of fiber (soluble and insoluble) for overall digestive health along with several grams of protein as well. If you have a severe wheat allergy or intolerance (celiac disease) oatmeal may not be right for you because often the oats may be contaminated with wheat from the manufacturing process.

2.      Tuna
Tuna is an excellent and cheap source of complete protein without any significant fat or carbohydrates. It comes in a convenient can which takes care of almost half of your protein requirements for the day. Tuna also has some other nutrients including Omega-3 Fatty Acids and selenium. The only problem is that over the decades tuna has become more and more corrupted by mercury. This means that there may be small amounts of mercury in most cans of tuna so it should be eaten only in moderation. I would recommend still eating tuna but limit your intake to 2-3 cans per week. Tuna is much cheaper than salmon and nearly as healthy except it contains less Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Salmon is the nutritionally superior choice but the price of tuna is right.

3.      Eggs/Egg Whites
Another bodybuilding staple, eggs and egg whites are both fantastic for high-quality sources of protein. I wouldn’t recommend chugging 8 raw eggs Rocky-style (can you say Salmonella?) but I encourage nearly everyone to get eggs or egg whites in their diet. Egg whites are nearly pure protein and are excellent for those looking to stay extra lean and can be prepared very easily from liquid form in Egg-Beaters. I recommend eggs over egg whites for clients unless they are really having trouble losing weight because of the more complete nutrition they provide. Eggs with yokes provide excellent sources of B-vitamins, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Lutein for eye health. The Omega-3 Fatty Acids in egg yokes also helps to makes up for their high cholesterol contents. You can purchase eggs from cage-free and grass fed chickens for a slightly higher price and they have a higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to total fat content.

4.      Whole Grain Cereals
Whole grain cereals, such as Kashi and Total, provide excellent sources of slow-digesting complex carbohydrates. The whole grains also provide excellent sources of fiber and micronutrients without much or any fat, cholesterol, or processed sugar. You can purchase store-brand or generic whole grain cereal for very low prices and each box will provide you with a large amount of servings. There are plenty of other smaller brand name cereals in the organic food section but they are often $5 or more for a small box and aren’t usually worth the extra cost. Many whole grain cereals are also fortified with extra vitamins and minerals for even more versatility. My personal favorite is Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted cereal because it has plenty of nutritional value and minimal sugar. You can also snack on it right from the box.  If you add in fruit, milk, and nuts you will have a complete and healthy meal.

5.      Whole Grain Breads
Whole grain breads are another staple for a healthy and frugal diet. A loaf of generic whole grain bread will only cost you about $2 but it will provide you with at least half a dozen servings of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients. I like to keep things fresh by varying between whole wheat bread, multigrain bread, whole grain bread, whole wheat English muffins, and whole grain bagels. Whole grain pita bread also makes a great affordable snack with hummus or for wraps. Make sure to check the nutritional label though to see just how many whole grains are in it. Be wary of wheat or multigrain breads that contain unwanted ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup. It’s so easy to just grab a whole grain bread product and spread on some natural peanut butter or whatever you prefer for a cheap and healthy snack on the go. Often times I get lazy and just eat whole grain toast with natural peanut butter or pita bread and hummus as my meals or snack.  

Stay Tuned For Parts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7!

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