One of the biggest excuses I hear for NOT eating healthy is the expense. And although it’s true that some health food is more costly than the “fake food” you will find on the $1 menu at McDonald’s, there are still LOTS of great choices—especially if you buy in bulk (at places like Costco).
Here are my top 7 low-cost foods for a flat belly: (Prices are from my local grocery store) I try to buy organic versions whenever possible, but if organic doesn’t fit in your budget that’s OK. It’s important to focus on healthy choices no matter what.
1. Avocados: These little suckers are loaded with two nutrients that are KEY to killing belly fat: hunger crushing fiber (11 to 17 grams per avocado!), and monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually “spot reduce” belly fat. ($1 to $2 each)
2. Peanut Butter: Okay, not just peanut butter, but mostly any seeds and nuts (these are the best): pistachios, walnuts, almonds (or almond butter), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. Why? They keep you full and satisfied for long periods of time, and they’re stuffed with healthy, belly-burning fats and minerals. ($4.99 for 16 oz organic peanut butter and it lasts a long time.)
3. Cottage Cheese: Loaded with calcium and low-fat protein, cottage cheese will keep you feeling full for long period of time while supplying the amino acids your muscles need to grow. ($3.49 for 24 oz of Daisy Cottage Cheese)
4. These Veggies: Turns out certain vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, and cabbage contain special phytonutrients, such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which help to fight against environmental estrogens that can add belly fat. Mom was right… eat your veggies! (Costs vary, but look for sales. Frozen is fine.)
5. Eggs aren’t bad, they’re nutrient-dense and loaded with belly-burning protein, vitamins B6, B12, A, D, E, and K, folate, choline, lutein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, they keep you full for long periods of time. Choose eggs that come from free-range chickens. You’ll get more healthy nutrients. (As little as $2.99 a dozen for cage-free versions)
6. Oatmeal: Packed with fiber and whole-grain goodness, you can’t go wrong. Just be sure to avoid the processed, high-sugar junk out there and stick to slow-cook oats. Add a dash of cinnamon, some walnuts, berries, and a natural sweetener to taste. BAM! Good stuff. ($3.88 for 42 oz of slow cooked Quaker Oats!)
7. Beans: Black beans, navy beans, refried beans, and lima beans all have 6 or more grams of fiber per ½ cup. Fiber can clean your system of pounds of “toxic waste” and reduce your belly bulge in a big way. (A can will run you around $0.92.)
David Knapp NCSF-MPT-CNS