Eating healthy does not have to come at a price. You might actually be surprised at how much each of healthy food items cost at the grocery store! According to Runner’s World, there are 15 items that should be in every runner’s grocery cart. Make their list yours to keep you healthy and fueled when training for the South Padre Island Marathon.
-price: $6.99 per pound
-reason: Runners are encouraged to eat a small handful of almonds three to five times per week. This type of nut offers an excellent source of vitamin E, which can help protect us against cancer. Besides eating them by themselves, they can be chopped and added to cereal and trail mixes. You can also purchase almond butter, which tastes delicious on English-muffins or whole-wheat tortillas.
-price: $3.29 per dozen
-reason: One egg contains 10 percent of your daily protein serving. Eggs contain vitamin K, choline and lutein which are all good for bone density, memory and healthy eyes. Eggs can be scrambled, boiled, poached or fried (in a nonstick skillet) and served by themselves, in a sandwich, burrito or wrap.
3. Sweet Potatoes
-price: $0.78 per pound
-reason: Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, potassium and iron. They also contain traces of manganese and copper minerals, which are crucial for healthy muscle function. Sweet potatoes can be baked, broiled or even microwaved. They are very inexpensive and can be a great addition to any meal!
4. Whole-grain cereal with Protein
-price: $3.12 per box
-reason: Whole-grain cereal is an excellent choice for any runner’s breakfast. Combined with milk or soymilk, this meal is packed with protein and fiber! Breakfast-eaters tend to also be healthier and leaner because eating in the morning helps manage their weight. Whole-grain cereal can also be eaten with yogurt or packed in a Ziploc for an afternoon snack.
-price: $0.68 per pound
-reason: Citrus contains Vitamin C, which is a great for our immune systems. Oranges can be eaten by themselves, added to fruit and green salads or juiced for a flavorful broth with meat. Orange zest can also be used for basking and cooking.
6. Canned Black Beans
-price: $0.986per can
-reason: Black beans contain protein and fiber. They also contain antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart-disease. Canned back beans are easy to heat up and can be added to a variety of dishes. Mash them up for a bean dip, serve with chicken and veggies, or add to a pasta dish for extra fiber and protein.
7. Mixed Salad Greens
-price: $2.98 per bag
-reason: Mixed green salad mixes offer phytonutrients. These are nutrients that fight off Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and even diabetes. Mixed-greens are available in prewashed salad bags, but can also be bought fresh in bulk. Toss them in low-fat, olive-oil based dressing along with other vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber.
-price: $5.48 per pound
-reason: Out of all the types of fish, Salmon is the most nutritious. This type of fish contains omega-3 fats, which are designed to help balance how our body responses to inflammations, such as diseases like asthma. Look for farm-raised and wild salmon to maximize these health benefits. Fish can be kept for two days in the fridge or in the freezer for four-five months.
9. Whole-grain Bread
-price: $2.69 per loaf
-reason: Studies have shown that people who eat whole-grains bread weight less than those who eat refined white bread or even other grains! When at the grocery store, you must make sure you are picking out bread labeled “100 percent whole-grain.
10. Frozen Stir-fry Vegetables
-price: $0.98 per bag
-reason: Out of the veggies in the frozen aisle, stir-fry vegetables contain a great mixture of antioxidants! A bag of stir-fry veggies is easy to make and can be combined with almost anything. Steam in the microwave, boil in water, or sauté them in a skillet. Mix with lean-protein, rice, soup, casserole or anything else you desire.
11. Whole-grain Pasta
-price: $1.12 per box
-reason: Whole-grain pasta contains more fiber and B vitamins than regular pasta. It is great for runners looking to energize their metabolism. When eating whole-grain pasta, make sure your sauce is low in sugar and low in fat. Some tomato-based sauces contain 10+ grams of sugar and some cream-based sauces contain over 10 grams of fat.
-price: $1.99 per pound
-reason: One four-ounce serving of chicken can supply about half a runner’s daily protein needs! This lean, protein-packed meat can be baked, broiled, grilled or poached in broth. Make sure when purchasing fresh chicken at the store, to eat it within two days. Otherwise, chicken can be frozen for six months or longer.
13. Frozen Mixed Berries
-price: $2.50 per bag
-reason: Frozen berries are equally delicious as fresh ones, but last much longer! Antioxidants in blueberries, blackberries and raspberries contain antioxidants that can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and even some cancers. Enjoy this 60 calories per cup treat with cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or smoothies.
14. Dark Chocolate
-price: $1.50 per bar
-reason: This is an opportunity to treat yourself! Dark chocolate actually has antioxidants that boost heart health. Research has shown that these types of antioxidants, flavonols, lowers the risk of potential blood clots and can even lower total cholesterol levels. Although an indulgence, buy small-wrapped pieces. This will help with portion control.
15. Low-Fat Yogurt
-price: $0.98 per cup
-reason: Don’t be scared when we say there are “live cultures” in low-fat yogurt. This means your cup of yogurt actually contains healthy bacteria that aid your digestive tract. Yogurt can be incorporated into any meal, not just breakfast. Spread yogurt, diced cucumber and herbs over tofu, chicken, fish and other meats. When eating yogurt for a sweet treat, always check the labels of flavored yogurts: vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, etc. They can contain a large quantity of sugar per serving. Go for plain low-fat yogurt and add honey or other natural sweeteners.