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Grrr... Dieting

10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention and when hard times strike, budgeting for food can be especially difficult. Avoid the “hungry man is an angry man” blues and stock pile these ten healthy foods that won’t ruin your wallet or your waistline.

1. Peanut Butter

($1.99 – $2.49) In addition to being a lean muscle building maximizer, peanut butter is also filling, nutritious and terrifically inexpensive. “Peanut Butter is a great source of fiber, protein, folic acid, contains nearly half of the 13 essential vitamins and is naturally free of cholesterol,” said Tim Kearney of Naturally Nutty Foods, makers of Naturally Nutty Peanut Butter. Also, peanut butter stores well, so you can buy in bulk. When hunger calls, eat peanut butter by the spoonful, spread on fruit (if available) or mix in with oatmeal for a filling dinner. Here are some good, nutritious, non-fattening peanut butters.

2. Oatmeal

($1.49 – $3.99) The great thing about oatmeal is how little it costs for how much you get. Oatmeal is a heart healthy food and when you’re broke, you can literally survive on a bowl of oatmeal. Cook up a batch and save the extra for when the green is great; you can mix it in with protein powder and water to make a nutritious, muscle-building smoothie. The best oatmeal is either raw or stove-top. Avoid the microwavable variety as they contain sugar and the packets are hardly enough to fill you up.

3. Brown rice

($1.99 – $2.99) You can get full on rice. Better yet, mix with olive oil (which every guy should have) and some salt (sea or crystal is best) for a tasty meal. Brown rice makes for a suitable post-workout carbohydrate and newer varieties are surprisingly simple to cook: two cups of water to one cup of rice. Bring to boil then simmer (low heat), covered for 10 minutes. Tip: spray the rim of the saucepan with cooking spray (another kitchen staple) to avoid a messy overflow. Combine with any of the following (or all) for a tasty and satisfying meal (ideal for post workouts). And, yes I have no problem recommending regular white rice here, it’s cheaper and cook faster.

4. Chick peas

- (.99 – $1.49) Packed with protein, chick peas (also known as Garbanzo beans) when combined with rice, make a fat-free, high quality protein meal. Chick peas are of the legumes family which are high in fiber helping to keep your digestive system in track. Garbanzos keep blood sugar levels stabilized making you feel full, longer. Mix some in with cooked rice (rinse first) and tuna for a hearty, meal. See a tasty chick peas lunch creation.

5. Tuna

($1.49 – $2.99) Tuna can be a life-saver when you have nothing to eat. This versatile, healthy fish is easily mixed in with practically any dish. Although there are many different varieties of tuna, affecting fat content, taste and nutritional value, these amounts are nominal and when times are tough, this sacrifice is insignificant. Combine rice, chick peas and tuna for a quintessential bachelor dinner dish (suitable for two and a good excuse to show off your home cooking and budgeting skills. Points).

6. Black beans

($.49 – $1.49) Health in a can, black beans contain a compound that significantly reduce pre-cancerous cells. Black beans are also loaded with anthocyanins, specifically ten times more when compared to other dark colored fruits and vegetables. Also, a can of black bean soup makes for a hearty, healthy, soothing meal. Eat with crackers or Melba Toast ($1.99).

7. Lentils

($.99 – $1.49) Another type of legume, lentils are high in fiber which help to prevent heart disease. The magnesium content found in lentils contributes to blood flow and the passage of oxygen through the body. Primarily, lentils are high in iron which make it an excellent pre- and post-workout muscle building food. Lentils are also suprisingly filling. Don’t overcook (it will cause gas).

8. Canned corn

($.49 – $.69) Corn is a favored staple by many and the canned variety of this popular American grain, although processed, remains a suitable alternative to the fresh version. Corn is high in Vitamin B, essential to energy production. Corn has also been proven to reduce risk of lung cancer (in smokers). Buy two cans at a time, and mix in with rice and tuna for color, variety and crunch.

9. Frozen spinach

($1.29 – $2.29) Quite possibly one of the healthiest, pervasive leafy greens, spinach is also terrifically inexpensive. The frozen blocks are ideal for stock-piling during hard times. Thaw (run under water until the block easily breaks apart) and mix in with rice (steam the spinach separately for 10 minutes) and chickpeas (or any other bean) for a delicious, filling meal. As a matter of fact, this dish is quite common in many countries, specifically Trinidad and Tobago. It is the foundation for our widely popular “paleu” (pronounced pay-LAU).

10. Sweet potatoes

($1.49 lb) My food of choice if I had nothing else to eat, sweet potatoes are one of nature’s healing foods and are remarkably high in protein. Sweet potatoes are shockingly high in vitamins A, B and C. The antioxidants found in a sweet potato are concentrated enough to actually help promote anti-aging. Sweet potatoes are an ideal pre-workout, good carbohydrate and are also one of the few vegetables that I eat completely raw (however, you may do so at your own risk). Raw sweet potatoes are amazingly delicious with morning coffee. Incidentally, sweet potatoes store longer in the refrigerator. Learn more about the potential healing power of sweet potatoes.

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  • 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat « Fat to Fit by Stefan Pinto via @stefanpinto


    11:47 pm

  • awesome information. these all are very new to me [ school student] were perfect , gr8

    Aanchal Seth

    9:24 am

  • Hey Stefan, great tip on how to combine spinach rice and ‘channa’, but just a little note spinach ISNT a foundation of pelau. :P


    6:34 pm

  • Thanks Stefan as these are wonderful tips for wallet friendly healthy and filling foods.


    4:56 pm

  • I also use Nutella for my protein shakes to add flavor to it.

    vinny bee

    9:51 pm

  • Just shared your wonderful tip on my wall and you make me proud more than you know it. Hopefully I get to see you in person. My comment. I have developed a liking for Nutella, it’s so low in sugar and affordable and I dip my banana into it. Crackers too. It’s so delicious. Have you considered Nutella?

    vinny bee

    9:49 pm

  • Great tips Stefan!


    3:31 pm

  • 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat: via @AddThis

    Michael Lehrman (@ascenttoday)

    2:15 am

  • Smart article. Very helpful

    Brian V

    12:35 am

  • You know, for recession #2: 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat:

  • Thanks for the insight on this. You were able to lay out and explain that there are ways to eat and stay healthy on a budget. This is exceptionally timely now with the economy the way it is.

    David Schoner

    3:55 am

  • Great advice RT @stefanpinto 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat:

  • 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat …: Necessity is indeed the mother of invention …

  • 10 Healthy ‘Poor Man’s’ Foods for When you Have Nothing to Eat …: Oatmeal is a heart healthy food and when you…

    Mike Robson (@lvr8631)

    3:38 pm

  • Yeah, great article! I need to eat number 10 more, but as far as the rest, loving it…..especially the rice at least 3 times a week. Olive oil for me goes on everything….inlcuding my salads and greens vegas.



    2:45 pm

  • Women get hungry, too! :-)

    Simone Cruz

    2:27 pm

  • Great article – and I’m agreeing wholeheartedly on the Olive Oil hint. :)

    Genella deGrey

    2:27 pm

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