12 healthy foods that will cost you $3 or less

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Australia is one of the fattest nations, with almost one in three of us considered to be obese*. People often argue that this is because junk food and takeaway is more affordable than fresh, healthy herbs and other healthy foods. 

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But you don’t have to buy quinoa, goji berries and chia seeds (which can be a little exxy) to be healthy.

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These foods come in at $3 or less, and are packed with nutrition. Dig in!

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #1 Cabbage – $1.50 each

This green crispy veggie is high in vitamin K, providing about 85 per cent of the body’s daily requirement in just one serving. The vitamin is known as an Alzheimer’s and heart disease preventative and is essential for building strong bones.

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #2 Eggs – $2.99 (12 pack)

Whether you prefer to boil them for your salad or scramble them for your breakfast, eggs provide a hefty dose of protein without the calories. And even if you’re picky with the brand you buy, they’re always affordable.

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #3 Lentils and beans – 80 cents to $3

Want to stay fuller for longer? Excellent. Both lentils and beans are protein sources and high in fibre, but low in cost. You can buy a bag of red lentils (which are great for making soups and curries) for just $2.48 and cans of butter, cannellini and chickpeas for as little as $1.65.

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #4 Brown rice – $3.20 (1kg bag)

While everyone has been busy raving about quinoa, you may have forgotten your old friend brown rice. The healthy wholegrain tastes just as good in stir-fries as its white relative, and is loaded with manganese to help the body synthesise fats and aid the nervous and reproductive systems.

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #5 Bananas – 52 cents each

Besides the time Cyclone Yasi wiped out three-quarters of the nation’s crop, bananas have always been quite cheap. At just 52 cents each, they’ll provide much more energy before a workout than a sneaky chocolate bar.

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #6 Sweet potato – 67 cents each

Readily available no matter what the season and incredibly versatile (wedges, mash, veggie lasagne, soup – do we need to continue?), sweet potato is worth every cent. Its orange colour means it’s high in beta-carotene, which helps to boost your immunity and prevent the effects of ageing.

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #7 Canned tuna – $1 each

Full of protein, these easy-to-transport cans are the perfect accompaniment to your summer salads. The fish is high in potassium and iron, and while you shouldn’t eat it everyday due to the high mercury content, a few times a week is fine – for your body and your wallet!

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #8 Beetroot – 68 cents each

There’s a reason we started putting this purple veggie on our burgers: it’s SO good for you. Beets contain a unique source of betaine, which helps to protect cells and enzymes, as well as betalain pigments which work to break down toxins in the body. If you don’t particularly like the taste, try juicing it along with some apples and mint.

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #9 Oats – $1.87 (900g bag)

A lot of healthy baking recipes use oats and of course, they’re also perfect for breakfast. Oats contain a specific type of fibre that helps to lower blood cholesterol and significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Not to mention, they’re cheap as chips! (And way better for you.)

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #10 Cottage cheese – $2.74 (200g tub)

Who would’ve thought cheese would make it onto the list?! Go on, do a happy dance. Cottage cheese is a great source of calcium, protein and phosphorus. Plus, it can easily slot into savoury AND sweet dishes. #winning

CHEAP SUPERFOOD #11 Broccoli – $2.37 each

It’s definitely time to get past your childhood fear of broccoli. Your parents were doing the right thing by making you eat it, because the tree-like veggie is full of vitamins, fibre and flavonoids to keep you strong. And now that you’re doing your own shopping, it will keep the cost of groceries down.

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CHEAP SUPERFOOD #12 Garlic – $1.20 per head

$1.20 is a small price to pay for a whole lot of flavour and health benefits. This herb will help to strengthen your immune system, improve your metabolism and lower your blood pressure. Health experts recommend adding it in towards the end of the cooking process to keep its nutrients in check.

*www.smh.com.au

**All prices sourced from Coles Online and are correct as of 28 July 2015.

Do you eat any of the above foods? What’s your favourite healthy meal to make/eat?

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