Sustaining a Healthy Diet with a Limited Budget

Photo : Jeff Butterworth. A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve health. It is important for lowering many chronic health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

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Ready-made
and processed foods are often more expensive than meals you can make
by buying the ingredients yourself. In addition, making your own food
with fresh ingredients is beneficial since fresh foods are often more
nutritious, and where many fully and semi-cooked products have lower
nutritional values and contain more fat and salt.

Do you eat
like a king at the beginning of the month, but you end up with
spaghetti and ketchup in the last half of the month? You should then
improve your eating and shopping habits according to the
Helsedirektoratet’s suggestions.

Choose
green keyhole-labeled foods

A healthy
diet should contain carbohydrates in the form of starch. Good sources
of these carbohydrates are found in many of our daily consumed foods
and can be affordable. Properly adjusting your eating habits
according to these golden rules is important in obtaining a
well-balanced diet: – Eat grain cereals without sugar, and oatmeal
with low-fat milk or skimmed milk, and with preferably fruit or
berries instead of jam.

– Eat
wholegrain bread daily – that is, bread that contains more than 50
percent wholegrain flour. For example, these breads labeled grovt
brød(wholewheat bread) or ekstra grovt brød(multi-grain or extra
whole-wheat bread) according to the Brødskala’n, or the label
system that determines the grain content. Whole meal or wholegrain
products are an important source of dietary fiber, which is good for
digestion, as well as B vitamins and iron.

– Do not
ignore potato. The potato contains many vitamins and minerals and is
an important source of vitamin C. You can choose boiled or baked
potatoes. Fill the potatoes with something healthy, you then have a
complete dinner.

– Go for
brown rice and whole grain pasta. Also, instead of buying expensive
ready-made pasta sauces, you should make your own sauces. Do not
hesitate to experiment with tomato, vegetables, herbs, chicken and
fish. Rice and pasta are high in starch, but have fewer of the other
important nutrients compared to potatoes. Although rice and pasta are
inexpensive, tasty and convenient, it should not always replace the
potato in your diet.

Rich
sources of protein

Pure red
meat where you can cut away the visible fat is both lean and
nutritious. White meat, e.g. chicken or turkey, is a fine alternative
to red meat. Buying these foods in larger quantities is usually more
affordable. Also, do not forget to limit the amount of red meat and
processed red meat products to 500 grams per week. If you have a
freezer, go ahead and make larger portions than what you usually eat
for one meal, then freeze the rest for later. Remember to cool the
food

quickly
and freeze it in small portion packs. Egg – is quick to prepare and
can come in many varieties. Omelets with vegetables can be a complete
and inexpensive dinner. Scrambled, boiled or fried eggs are also good
on bread, and boiled eggs can be used in salads. Mackerel in tomato
sauce and sardines in a can – are good sources of both protein and
omega 3. They can be used in pasta sauce and salads. Beans and
lentils – dried lentils and beans are other good and inexpensive
sources of protein.

Fruit
and vegetables

It is
recommended that everyone should eat at least five servings of
vegetables, fruits and berries every day. Half should be vegetables.

You can
alternatively use fruit and vegetables as toppings to main course.
Tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, banana and apple are good selections.
Vegetables should be cooked in a small amount of water to keep their
nutritional values. One thing to keep in mind in buying fruits and
vegetables is to buy them in season. This will save money as well as
giving you more delicious ingredients.

Again, if
you have access to a freezer, freezing vegetables can be a good
economic alternative, and only reduces the vitamin content of
vegetables minimally.

Fish,
fish, fish

It is
healthy to eat fish. Eat fish for dinner two to three times a week.
Fish is quick to prepare and contains a lot of omega 3 fatty acids.
This applies particularly to fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon,
trout, halibut and herring. A simple and inexpensive alternative is
to eat fish pudding, and canned mackerel and sardines in tomato
sauce.

Water
is healthy and free

Clean
water is the best thirst quencher and Norwegian spring water is
usually of such good quality that it is not necessary to buy
expensive bottled water.

Milk
contains many nutrients, including calcium which is important for
bones. Calcium content is the same in skim, extra light, light and
whole milk, and if you choose the first three variations you get
calcium with a lot less fat.

No time
to cook dinner?

Having
dinner instead of simply snacking creates better variation in your
diet. If you do not have time to cook dinner every day, it is in fact
much better to eat bread for dinner, than to have a quick hot dog or
hamburger. Actually, it is easier to prepare a healthy and good
dinner by having only a few basic tools such as a couple of good
knives – vegetable knife, bread knife and a meat knife, cutting board
– one for vegetables and one for raw meat, potato peeler, a couple of
pots with lids, frying pan and a couple of bowls

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