Since the introduction of the 5-a-day plan, along with the endless variations of diet crazes, there's been a growing argument that the cost of healthy living - as recommended - is too high. Fresh fruit and veg doesn't have to be really expensive, unless you're only buying the big named superfoods.
Your diet should contain a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and a variety of vitamins and minerals. These essentials can be found all across your supermarket shelves, but it's the healthier products like fresh produce and natural foods which contain them most.
Of course, the more exotic fruits and less conventional food choices will come with a more expensive price tag, but there are some great alternatives on the shelves that won't break the bank. So, who said eating healthier is too expensive?
Swap fancy water for plain water
Coconut water: £0.25/100ml
Plain water: £0.01/100ml (or free from a tap)
Coconut water has been a big hit amongst athletes and gym-goers, as it contains both sugars and electrolytes that are needed to replenish the body. However, nothing can beat good ol' plain water for hydration, and if you're looking for an electrolyte boost, just add a pinch of salt or a squeeze of fruit juice.
Swap salmon for mackerel
Salmon Fillets: £12.97/kg
Mackerel Fillets: £8.34/kg
Fish is a brilliant source of omega-3, healthy fats and protein. Since the rise of the term "superfood", salmon became the king of the fish. Salmon is also one of the more expensive options, with plenty other healthy fatty fish being cheaper and just as delicious.
Contrary to popular belief, tinned mackerel is even cheaper than buying fresh, but still contain just as much omega-3. Most tinned fish varieties still contain their bones, but they soften over time within the tin until they become edible. While it may not sound tasty, eating the fish bones gives you a boost of calcium.
Swap Goji berries for raspberries
Goji berries: £17.50/kg
Fresh Raspberries: £13.34/kg
Frozen Raspberries: £5.72/kg
Goji berries have steam rolled their way being a superfood based on claims that they fight cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease and help reduce blood pressure.
However, goji berries are a dried fruit which means they have a high sugar content. We're not saying they aren't healthy, but there are some cheaper alternatives which we think are a little better. Raspberries are not only tasty when fresh, but the frozen variety lasts longer, contains less sugar and are a lot cheaper in price. Try this yummy berry breakfast smoothie recipe.
Swap chia seeds for sesame seeds
Chia seeds: £10.00/kg
Sesame seeds: £8.50/kg
If you're not a big fan of fish, then a common alternative to get your omega-3 binge is from chia seeds. They don't really taste like much, but they are rich in essential nutrients like calcium, iron and zinc, and they are great for sprinkling on top of meals.
However, the strain of Omega-3 found in chia seeds isn't easily processed by the body, which means you have to eat a lot of them to get the benefits. Sesame seeds contain all the same nutrients (and higher amounts in some cases), they're tastier and they're cheaper too!
Swap quinoa for lentils
Red Split Lentils: £2.30/kg
Not only are both of these pulses great for boosting your immune system, but they are really tasty too.
These two choices aren't too dissimilar, as both quinoa and lentils both contain similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates. However, when it comes to fibre content, lentils have the advantage. If you're looking for a healthier digestion, and the full-up feeling, lentils provide 3 times the amount of fibre per cup, that quinoa. They make take longer to cook, but they are cheaper and just as nutritious as quinoa.
Swap nuts for roasted chickpeas
Nuts, in particular almonds, have become a favourite healthy snack for many. They have good fats, protein, flavonoids and they taste great too.
However, the good comes with the bad and in the case of nuts, that's a high calorie count. Nuts aren't exactly cheap, especially when it's so easy to inhale a whole bag in one go. A great alternative is chickpeas. They contain similar quantity of nutrients, but cost a lot less in calories.
To make roasted chickpeas: Rinse them and blot dry with a paper towel. Then in a bowl, add some olive oil and seasoning to the chickpeas and coat well. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 180 degrees, until golden and crunchy.
Swap kale for broccoli
Fresh Green Kale: £4.86/kg
Fresh Broccoli: £1.29/kg
Broccoli is the green staple to a healthy diet. Packed with antioxidants that help repairs damaged blood cells and keeps your heart healthy, broccoli has more recently been passed over for kale.
The popular new kid on the block, Kale is both loved and hated in equal measures. However, broccoli is also packed with the same crime fighting ingredients as kale: calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins. In fact, broccoli contains more vitamin C and potassium than kale.
*All comparative prices have been sourced from Tesco.com (22.12.2016)
Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. By taking a look at nutritional values you can easily work out what products are good for you, helpful for training and compliment what you want to achieve.
The best thing to do is shop around. Brand names will be more expensive than shop names, and the prices of goods will vary from store to store.
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