Oats with fruits and peanut butter

We all want to be healthy, and eat nutrient-dense food. But does that mean we have to be on a strict diet and spend a great deal on expensive food ingredients? Of course not! 

Even though I am not an expert of nutrition, over the years I have educated myself through Youtube Videos and Podcasts. So in this post, I have put together 6 affordable food ingredients I use almost every day.

All of these are:

  • Affordable
  • Easily available at the supermarkets
  • Loaded with nutrition
  • Can be used along with our daily meals or snacks

Chia seeds

A table spoon of chia seeds

Often listed as “superfood” Chia seed is an edible seed from the desert plant Salvia Hispanica. Chia seeds are unprocessed whole grain food and rich in calcium, protein, fiber, Phosphorus, Zinc. Interestingly it’s also the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids!

Two tablespoons of Chia seeds has almost 140 calories, 4g of protein, 11 gram of fiber and 7 grams of unsaturated fat. 

How to use them :

In my opinion almost in everything. I love using them in breakfast recipes- Smoothies, oatmeal and salad dressing

HOT TIP 🔥 Chia seeds last 4-5 years without refrigeration! Remember to store in a cool and dry spot!

Recently I came to know about Chia seed drink! It’s the easiest thing in the world; Add a teaspoon of Chia seeds one cup of water. Shake them well so that it doesn’t gel at the bottom. This is how I typically do. You can also add a slice of lemon or cucumber for flavor.


Hemp seeds

A heaped scoop of Hempseed

It was not long ago that I read about these tiny white seeds. I often mistake them for lentils. 

This incredibly nutritious food is a great alternative for those who don’t consume fish and egg. 

Hemp Seeds are considered a complete protein source since they provide all essential amino acids. This is really important since our body can’t produce essential amino acids. 
There are several ways by which you can incorporate this in your daily food regimen.

How to use them :

Just like chia seeds I love to add them in my smoothies and oatmeals or yogurt. You can also use hemp seed oil in your salad dressings. 

If are a smoothie lover watch this video to know how to make them more healthier!


Flax seed Meal

A heaped scoop of flaxseed meal

They are one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. Studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases!

The three most important healthy components of flax seeds are omega3 fatty acids, lignan which have both estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and fiber.

💡 DID YOU KNOW? Flax seeds are cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC!

How to use them:

Make sure you grind them before you use them in any food so that our body can absorb the nutrients properly. This also makes the digestion easier. 

I use flax seeds whenever I make vegan muffins,  bread or sometimes energy bars. They are a vegan replacement for egg. 

If you would love to try more recipes using flaxseeds, I have a blog recommendation right here


Oats

Rolled oats in a bowl

I just recently knew that there are several varieties of oat meals such as oat groat, steel-cut, crushed and rolled. Among these oat groat has the longest cooking time. 

Oatmeal is a nutrient-rich food packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin B-1 and B-5. 

I mostly have oatmeal breakfast along with the chia seeds, hempseeds and peanut butter.

Among the varieties, I love the rolled oats and I usually cook them in water. This method makes the oats less gluey and more creamy.  


Coconut

Coconut flakes in a coconut bowl

Well, where do I start? Before moving to Belgium, almost every day I had consumed some form of coconut through my meals. 

Kerala, the South-Indian state I am from, is known as the land of coconut trees.  

If you type in “Kerala” in Google, I bet you can’t find a single picture without a coconut tree. We love coconut and we use it abundantly in our dishes. 

Coconut water is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and several other minerals. And coconut oil is well known for its millions way of use. It’s a great moisturizer and conditioner. 

I only use coconut oil for my Indian food recipes. 

Some uses and facts about coconut:

  • Coconut water is great for adding to smoothies.
  • Coconut sugar can be a great alternative for refined sugar.
  • You can use coconut oil in baking and cooking.
  • Dried coconut flakes are great for  cookies, cereals and smoothies.
  • Most South -Indian and Asian recipes, coconut milk is a MUST.
  • Toddy or Palm wine is a well known sour beverage from coconut trees.


Lentils

Small yellow lentils  and Red lentils

The best part of being an Indian is, getting to eat sumptuous dishes with rich flavors. Among those recipes, lentils /Indian dal are essential ingredients. They are of distinct colors and flavors and can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. 

And the best part? They are an excellent source of minerals, protein and fiber. 

How to use them:

  • You can make Indian dal curry.
  • Add them in stew or soup for extra fiber.
  • You can make a lentil burger.


Final Thoughts:

There are plenty more foods packed with nutritional value. I have chosen these since they are affordable and can be incorporated into our daily meals without complex cooking methods. 

Time for your action:

What’s your favourite ingredients among these? Let me know in the comments.

*Reference/further Reading: Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Flaxseeds, coconut water

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