Enjoy These Five More Fantastic Frugal Foods!
1. Peanuts/ Natural Peanut Butter
Peanuts and peanut butter are excellent sources of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are both extremely cheap options and very easy to eat as a snack or with other healthy foods. Although the cost is slightly more expensive, I would opt for natural peanut butter instead of the traditional Skippy or Jiffy product. These more traditional peanut butter products have hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fats, for consistency and added sugars for enhanced flavor. Natural peanut butter just has peanuts and salt and is a much cleaner food nutritionally. If you purchase peanuts, make sure that there are no other added ingredients except for peanuts and salt. You can obviously purchase peanuts or peanut butter without added salt if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. I eat scoops of natural peanut butter plain and right out of the jar if I get hungry. While almonds have a slight nutritional and allergy advantage over peanuts, they also cost more than twice as much so peanuts and peanut butter are the frugal winners.
2. Skim Milk
Believe those commercials about milk doing a body good! Low fat or skim is a very cheap, high quality complete source of slow-digesting proteins. Skim milk also contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, and Vitamin D making it a very versatile beverage. It does contain 13 grams of lactose (milk sugars) per serving but these sugars do not spike blood sugar and insulin levels as much as those found in sweets, fruit juice, and soda. A gallon of skim milk is $3 or less at most supermarkets and provides 8 servings. I’ve been drinking tons of skim milk for my whole life and I give it credit for a significant amount of my muscle growth and repair. Make sure that you purchase milk that says on the label that it is from cows that are steroid, growth hormone, and antibiotic free. There are also more expensive brand name fat free milk that have higher amounts of protein light-blocking containers. These are good choices to try out but you need to determine whether they are worth the extra cost. Also make sure to check and compare the expiration dates to the other gallons of milk to get the freshest possible option.
3. Chicken Breasts
A perennial weight loss and bodybuilding staple, chicken breasts are nearly fat free and an excellent source of protein. Because "chicken tastes like everything" it can be cooked in a variety of ways with various other foods and spices so it does not get so boring day after day. Purchase chicken breasts in large quantities, cook them in large quantities, and you have high quality protein for the whole week! Before you grill them up, cut off any significant pieces of fatty tissue to make them even leaner choices. Try to purchase frozen chicken breasts as opposed to already cooked and sliced options as those will be much more expensive. Check the label to make sure that they are at least 97% lean and are not treated with growth hormones, steroids, and antibiotics.
4. Whole Grain Pasta
Whole grain pasta is a very versatile and inexpensive excellent source of complex carbohydrates and long-lasting energy. A box of generic whole grain pasta costs about $2 and provides several servings of nutrient density. There are also plenty of variations, shapes, and types to keep you from getting bored. Pasta is so easy to cook that there is no excuse for not getting enough whole grains for lunch or dinner. Whole grain pastas are especially important for endurance athletes looking to maximize their stores of muscle glycogen for optimal performance. If you are aggressively trying to lose weight, limit your pasta consumption at or after dinner to one serving at the very most.
Coffee is good for you?! Yes it is actually. The reason that coffee gets such a bad reputation is because so many people add massive amounts of cream and sugar to it or accompany it with unhealthy companions such as donuts or cigarettes. The rich and expensive mochachinos and custom drinks can also total over 500 calories which can be kryptonite for your diet. Also, drinking more than 2 or 3 cups a day is not necessarily good for you and will boost your caffeine tolerance considerably. Coffee by itself, or accompanied with skim milk and a zero calorie sweetener, can help to increase your metabolism and fat-burning. Coffee is also a natural appetite suppressant so it can help reduce your cravings for junk food. It even provides a small amount of naturally occurring antioxidants! Coffee can be a very cheap source of caffeine if you purchase and make it yourself, or simply order a regular coffee at your local café. It will burn a hole in your pocket though if you go to the local Starbucks every day though and order designer drinks. Coffee should be avoided or consumed in moderation if you have hypertension, heart disease, or caffeine sensitivity. Avoid drinking caffeinated coffee beyond the afternoon to avoid disrupted sleeping habits.
Stay Tuned For Parts 4-7 Coming Soon!