Saturday, February 14, 2009

Healthiest Cheap Food

I swear... I'm addicted to the information I'm getting out of Men's Health... WHY don't they have one of these for women?! (so that I don't feel so stupid reading something intended for men) This one is truly in honor of my favorite frugal friend... and she knows who I'm talking about!!

Best Fish
You know you should be eating more fish, but do you know which kind is healthiest? We’ve analyzed a dozen of the most popular fish choices and ranked them from first to worst. Our favorite sea creatures are rich in omega-3s; relatively low in mercury, PCBs, and dioxins; have decently high protein content; and are ecologically sustainable. With these qualifications in mind, both the Pacific Halibut and Farmed Catfish rank well. But opt for the Catfish, and you’ll save an average of $1.50 a pound.

Not That!
Pacific Halibut
$4/lb

Eat This Instead!
Farmed Catfish
$2.52/lb

Best Poultry
Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide developed a matrix where we compare all major cuts of beef, pork, poultry and alternative meats through a rigorous equation to assess their core nutritional value. The criteria? High protein-to-fat ratio; density of 10 essential nutrients commonly found in proteins; and low saturated fat concentrations and cholesterol levels. Light chicken meat won out handily over all other cuts, with chicken breast being the best you could buy. But for an almost equally healthy chicken alternative, a dark chicken leg will save you 89 cents a pound—and it scored higher in nutritional value than all cuts of beef except for kidney and liver.

Not That!
Chicken breast
$2.37/lb

Eat This Instead!
Chicken leg
$1.48/lb

One more thought: You can also opt for frozen chicken breast, which contains almost identical nutrients at half the price as the fresh breast. In our taste tests, we found it impossible to tell the difference between fresh and frozen.

Best Beef
Again, using data from our meat matrix, we found that T-bones and top sirloin were almost identical in their nutritional benefits. The prices, however, differ significantly: choose the top sirloin, and save $1.52 per pound.

Not That!
T-bone
$7.38/lb

Eat This Instead!
Top sirloin
$5.86/lb

Best Pork
It’s a little strange to us that ham is one of the least nutritious types of pork you can eat, but it’s a little more expensive than loin chops—the second most nutritious. While you’re only saving 14 cents per pound by opting for loin chops over ham, you’ll benefit hugely from the extra nutrients, and more healthful protein-to-fat ratio.

Not That!
Ham
$3.42/lb

Eat This Instead!
Pork loin chops
$3.28/lb

Best Vegetable Snack
If you’re looking for a super healthy, low-calorie snack, you’ll get more of a nutritional punch from carrots than celery, at practically the same cost per pound. 1 serving of carrots has two times as much fiber as celery—and 43 times as much Vitamin A.

Not That!
Celery
$0.78/lb

Eat This Instead!
Carrots
$0.80/lb

Best Salad Base
The leafy greens in your salad can really vary in their nutritional content—iceberg lettuce, for example, is significantly less nutritious than romaine, which is yet again less nutritious than cabbage. In fact, 1 cup of cabbage gives you more than half of your daily vitamin K requirement—and it’s $1.29 less per pound than Romaine.

Not That!
Romaine lettuce
$1.91/lb

Eat This Instead!
Cabbage
$0.62/lb

Best Side Vegetable
When it comes to health benefits alone, broccoli beats cauliflower—half a cup of cooked broccoli delivers 24 percent of your Vitamin A, 84% of your Vitamin C, and 3 grams of fiber. But at a significantly reduced price, half a cup of cooked cauliflower is also good for you—it has a gram of fiber and 46 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. If you’re really looking to cut corners, cauliflower is a much cheaper option that still packs a nutritional punch.

Not That!
Cauliflower
$0.33/lb

Eat This Instead!
Broccoli
$1.76/lb

(Is this one backwards?)

Best Berry
The price of fresh fruits out of season is significantly higher than when they’re in season, due to transportation costs. And if you want to get your money’s worth, you’ll need to eat them within three days of buying, so they don’t spoil. 1 cup of frozen blueberries gives you just as much fiber as the raw variety, and a handful fewer calories. While fresh blueberries offer 18 percent more Vitamin C, that difference isn’t worth the extra cost.

Not That!
Fresh blueberries
$1.90/lb

Eat This Instead!
Frozen blueberries
$1.75/lb

Best Brown-Bagged Fruit
If you bring your lunch to work every day, it’s smart to toss a fruit in the lunch sack. But which one’s most worthy of your hard-earned money? An apple will give you 14 percent of your day’s Vitamin C and 4 grams of fiber, but a banana, at half the price per pound, offers more Vitamin C and just 1 less gram of fiber.

Not That!
Red delicious apples
$1.26/lb

Eat This Instead!
Bananas
$0.63/lb

Best Cooking Oil
Save the pricey olive oil for dressing salads or drizzling lightly over grilled vegetables. Canola’s neutral flavor is great for cooking, and it happens to have an even better ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat than the vaunted extra virgin. Olive can cost as much as a dollar per ounce, while high-end canola costs about 25 cents. Or, if you buy average of each, you’ll save over $2 a pound on canola.

Not That!
Extra virgin olive oil
$2.42/lb

Eat This Instead!
Canola oil
$0.31/lb

(On this one - I have to say that I'm sticking to my EVOO because of the benefits it has to lowering my overall cholesterol numbers...so please take your invidivual nutrition needs into account with any of these suggestions)

Best Grain
For about the price of a bottle of water you can boil up a massive pot of soup- and salad-ready lentils. A pound-size bag has 11 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein in each of its 13 servings. It’s also one of the world’s richest sources of folate, a B vitamin that helps form oxygen-carrying red blood cells and promotes communication between nerves cells. You’ll gain all that good stuff, while saving an average of 41 cents per pound if you choose lentils over brown rice.

Not That!
Brown rice
$1.59/lb

Eat This Instead!
Dried lentils
$1.18/lb

Best Breakfast Food
The best breakfasts for all-day productivity are high in protein and low in refined carbohydrates, so even if there were no price difference, eggs would be a much better choice over a bowl of cereal (especially if it’s one of the sickly sweet varieties). That said, there is a substantial price difference. Say you can scrounge five bowls from one box—that’s 90 cents a meal (without the milk). A dozen eggs, though, makes six meals—each for an average of 31 cents. When you think of it that way—that by eating cereal over eggs, you’re spending three times the amount of money on a meal—the choice is that much easier.

Not That!
Cereal
$4.50/box

Eat This Instead!
Eggs
$1.84/dozen

(Yeah, eat eggs unless your weight loss surgery has made it to where eating eggs is virtually impossible without them having a repeat performance - if you catch my drift.)