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It is a common myth that healthy eating is expensive. Yes, if you are buying speciality ingredients or choosing premium brands, you will probably see a high grocery bill. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. There are many easily sourced ingredients that are super cost-effective and high in nutrients too. Two such examples are beans and oats.
Beans are a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in fat and salt. Their high fibre content means that beans can help to slow down digestion, helping to keep us feeling fuller for longer and helping to keep blood sugar levels stable, as opposed to eating a highly processed, sugary meal. Beans are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly. They are often an important source of protein in vegetarian and vegan diets and it is believed that the health benefits of beans are most obvious when used to replace meat in the diet. The “Meatless Monday” movement in recent years has helped to celebrate the humble bean.
When choosing beans, don’t be afraid to opt for the tinned variety. The canning process has minimal impact on the nutrition profile of beans yet provides great convenience compared to cooking beans from their dried form. In general, you can pick up a tin of kidney beans for 30c or a tin of chickpeas for 70c in all supermarkets. There’s no way that anyone could argue that that’s expensive.
My favourite way to include beans daily is to make a quick hummus by simply mashing tinned chickpeas with lemon juice and seasoning. Recipe: www.thebakingnutritionist.com/hummus/
Eating a nutritious breakfast is one the ways that we can set ourselves up for a successful day of work or study. Oats are minimally processed, a source of many essential nutrients and are super low cost. Choose supermarket own brands instead of more expensive brands. You’ll save money but won’t compromise on nutritional value as all oats are the same, regardless of the cost to the consumer. With a €2 coin, you can walk into most supermarkets and pick up a big bag of oats that will keep you going for a couple of weeks.
Oats contain approx. 1.9g of beta glucan per 40g serving. As part of a balanced diet, beta glucan from oats can help to maintain a normal blood cholesterol level, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The beneficial effect of beta glucan can be observed with a daily intake of 3g of beta-glucan from oats, oat bran, barley bran or from a mixture of these sources. Having a bowl of porridge for breakfast gets you almost two-thirds of the way there.
If you fancy making your own, low cost bread at home, try my Seedy Brown Bread which I like to incorporate oats into: www.thebakingnutritionist.com/seedy-brown-bread/
Other budget-friendly ingredients I like to include in my weekly shop are milk and yogurt, bananas, rice cakes, lentils, eggs, cottage cheese, mushrooms, onions, garlic, pasta and rice.