All You Magazine recently ran an amazing article on how you can eat nutrient-rich foods to get the top ten (or power 10) nutrients with little effort (and with lots of flavor.) While I like a good halibut as much as anyone, I have five kids and a hubby to feed. Our budget just won’t allow for this very often. By carefully scanning the lists of foods for each recommended nutrients, however, it was easy to see that there were some affordable options for each.
Here are the Power 10 again, but with only the most budget-friendly foods listed:
Good for your eyes, and now also good for your wallet, you can score 204% of your daily value of A with a medium raw carrot. For those who would rather drink the stuff, you can get 22% in an 8 oz. glass of tomato juice.
We call this the “happiness nutrient” because it is so closely connected to brain function (specifically, serotonin production.) Bake up a large russet potato to get over half of the day’s dosage, or sneak small amounts with 2 Tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (which will grant you 9% for each portion.)
This immunity-booster can be found in the common navel orange. (In fact, just one orange will more than cover a days’ dose.) Those who admit to liking brussel sprouts (like myself), can feel good knowing that 1 cup of the greens will give them almost as much C.
You can ask Sally Field about your bone health options, or try the preventative route with a glass of good, old-fashioned milk. While it only gives you ¼ of the day’s recommended value for 8 oz., it may be an easy way to count something you’re drinking anyway. Don’t like milk? Feel better knowing that just one can of tuna will give you 189% of your daily dose.
Banish those pesky free radicals by going a little nuts; Sunflower seeds pack the most punch, with 1 oz. Offering 37% of the days’ value. If you’re not a nut-lover (or can’t eat them due to an allergy), smother a cup of tomato sauce on tonight’s pasta; you’ll get 17% easily.
I bet you already knew that many of the same foods that offer a good shot of D will also get you a nice kick of Calcium. Drink your milk for a double-dip (offering 28% for a glass) or get a higher dose with 8 oz. plain yogurt. It will leave you with 45% at the end of the cup. (Lactose intolerant? Try sardines. They will actually give you more calcium than the milk. Must be all those crunchy little bones!)
The perfect nutrient for pregnant moms, folate has also been linked to easing depression. Go with a cup of lentils (one of the more affordable foods) to get 230% of the day’s value. Pintos taste great, too, but they only offer 36%!
Necessary for energy and a sharp mind, you can circle back to those cheap lentils we talked about. They are one of the most efficient ways to get your goodies; they offer 80% of the days’ value!
Becoming a heavy-hitter in the war against heart disease, magnesium is actually pretty easy to get into a diet. The most affordable options seem to be barley (which offers 9%) or the simple sweet potato (8%).
Reduce your risk of stroke by baking up a russet potato. It will give you almost half of the day’s recommended dose of potassium, or go the snacky route with 1.5 oz. Raisins. (They will help you out with 9%.)
These are by no means the only foods that can help you get your daily nutrients, but they are some of the cheapest. Get the full list of all the delicious foods that you can eat to get healthy in the original October 2011 issue of All You. (There are also tips for making sure your supplemental vitamins are doing you good, too!)