Good Cheap Food Formula

Published: 27th March 2012
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Good cheap food is not hard to find in America. The trick is knowing which are healthiest and how to combine them. Potatoes, beans, rice, pasta, tomatoes, eggs, non fat dry milk and fruits are all low cost nutritious foods that can be bought to make many, many delicious meals. Thousands and thousands of recipes readily available for free on the Internet, have been devised by clever chefs and nutrition experts to make brilliant use of items from the famous five food groups in a vast variety of tasty combinations. With a click of the mouse one can access tons of them.

In the famous Food Pyramid chart published by the United States Government we are taught that good nutrition requires the use of foods from all of the five food groups. The five food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Meats & Beans , Oils, and Milk. To get good nutrition eat at least one item from each group each day. And you don't have to spend tons of money to do so.

So what does the five food groups have to do with cheap? Well, food prices are based largely on popularity. There are other factors that affect price, like transportation costs and seasonal availability, and size of supply, which is often artificially controlled, but basically, the food that gets bought the most cost the most. The less popular foods cost less. Since all foods from the same food groups have pretty much the same levels of nutrition, it is safe, and smart, to buy the ones that cost less. Why not?

Items such as wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, and barley are low cost grains. Any of them can be used in a wide variety of recipes for a wide variety of tasty nutritious foods. Brown rice, for example, can be combined with any kind of beans and many kinds of sauces, such as tomato sauce with herbs, to make many different low cost dishes. Plain, low fat all natural yogurt can also be transformed into many different kinds of sauces for rice or gravy for potatoes, with many different kinds of beans or vegetables. Thick cream soups can also be combined with brown rice. Rice can be combined with cream of mushroom soup and frozen peas and Parmesan cheese for a tasty side dish. And little bits of chicken can be added as well, stretching the meat budget. Some people like to add ground beef and its gravy to rice, thus stretching the meat into a healthier meal. Beans and bean sauces also work very well and beans are one of the cheapest items in the grocery store, and one of the most nutritious. It is important to note that any grain is much better for you in its whole grain state. Bleached down processed white versions of rice and flour offer much less in terms of nutrition. Foods low in nutrition are far less filling so we eat more serving of them and spend much more money in the long run than when we eat the more nutritious whole versions of any food.

Vegetables come in several colors, red, green, orange, and yellow. Red and orange vegetables are keep your eyes strong with beta carotene and help your body fight off disease and dark green vegetables strengthen bones and teeth with calcium and iron. Following is a break down of the benefits of the colors of the fruits and vegetables and which is the cheapest.

Red Fruits and Vegetables
Containing nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin these nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, reduce blood pressure and join tissue together, among other things. Price wise, apples are usually the cheapest and come in many varieties. They can be made into pies and smaller similar dishes and can be grated down with a potato grated into quick servings of apple sauce. They can also be cut up in bits and mixed into oatmeal, another healthy low cost food, for flavoring and additional nutritional benefit. They can be turned into spreads for breads and crackers and pancakes. Let a small quantity of chopped up apple flavor your tea. Remove them after they soak in the hot tea briefly. Add cinnamon.

Orange And Yellow Fruits And Vegetables
Contain beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin C. They reduce age-related degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, encourage alkaline balance, and with magnesium and calcium build healthy bones. Oranges, carrots and sweet potatoes are the cheapest.

Green vegetables and Fruit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. These these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity. Cabbage, green peas, and celery. Pears are the cheapest green friut

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. These nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, and support healthy digestion. Grapes are usually the cheapest purple fruit. Cheaper when in season you might consider plums. Raisins are dried grapes.

White Vegetables.
The lowest costing white vegetable is potatoes. They can be bought for pennies a pound all year long and can be prepared and combined in hundreds of different way. They come is several varieties, each best for a number of dishes.

The Good Cheap Food Formula
The Good Cheap Food Formula combines grains, pastas, beans, tomato and other sauces, and potatoes into some of thousands of possible favorite combinations. And from the fruits and vegetables category we simply pick the cheapest items in season from the color groups. That is all there is to it.

Serving Size
To get 1800 calories a day, the amount needed by a high metabolism 9 year old child, eat the following number of servings from the 5 good groups.

Grains-6 servings
Vegetables-5 servings
Fruits-5 servings
Milk-3 servings
Meat & Beans-5 ounces

Here is a list of example serving sizes from the 5 food groups

1 slice whole-wheat toast = 1 serving
cup cooked brown rice = 1 serving
cup cooked pasta = 1 serving
3 cups lowfat popcorn = 1 serving

1 small baked sweet potato = 1 serving
6 baby carrots = 1 serving
1 large ear of corn = 1 serving
1 medium baked potato = 1 serving
1 cup cooked greens = 1 serving
3 spears broccoli = 1 serving
1 cup chopped lettuce = 1 serving

1 small apple = 1 serving
1 large orange= 1 serving
cup 100 % orange juice= 1 serving
1 small box raisins = 1 serving
1 large plum = 1 serving

Meat & Beans
cup cooked beans
1 chicken breast (3 ounces) = 1 serving
1 tablespoon peanut butter = 1 serving
1 hard boiled egg = 1 serving
1 small lean hamburger (3 ounces) = 1 serving
ounce nuts = 1 serving

Good Cheap Foods List

Which are the good cheap foods specifically. Again, Pasta is one. It is among the cheapest foods available. Whole wheat is more nutritious and tastes different than the bleached form. It cuts food cost a lot.

Another good cheap food is potatoes. They contain carbohydrates, potassium, and other nutrients The carbohydrates are not available in some other food groups. They can be prepared in hundreds of different ways, have a good shelf life and cost less than a dollar per pound.

Rice is also very, very low cost. It is from the grain group which provides lots of fiber.

Beans are very cheap, especially dry beans, come in hundreds of varieties, can be stored safely for months, provide loads of nutrition, including tons of protein, which make them a good meat substitute when combined with grains, and can be prepare in an endless variety of ways.

Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce work well with beans and rice, and potatoes too, and have the benefits of vegetables and fruit, and are healthy choice from the reds group. When stretched by being mixed with other foods they pay for themselves in health and cost benefits.

Eggs are regularly low cost and very versatile meal wise. Egg dishes have been designed for any meal time and are useful for making cakes and breads as well. They can be combined with potatoes, for example, to make tasty and healthy potato salad, and can spread on bread for egg salad sandwiches. Any combo of vegetables can be mixed with them in owlets and souffles.

The cheapest fruits depend largely on the season. Generally oranges, apples and bananas are the cheapest. Together they represent the orange, red and yellow fruit groups, and can be mixed to form tasty fruit salads and smoothies, apart from being added to oatmeal.

That's all there is to the good cheap food formula. I hope you find it useful.


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