From Everyday Health
Cleaning products, party supplies, and paper towels always prompt a trip to the dollar store. But it’s also a great place to pick up some surprisingly healthy items. Next time you find yourself wandering the aisles of your local discount store, stock up on these 10 products that will give you a health boost, without breaking the bank.
It’s a common misconception that frozen veggies aren’t as good as fresh – but this just isn’t true! In fact, frozen veggies can actually retain more nutrients since they are flash frozen right after they are picked (versus travelling hundreds of miles to the store as some fresh produce does). Plus, having frozen veggies on hand makes it easy to incorporate produce into your meals in a pinch and prevents waste, since you won’t have to throw out any produce that goes bad before you can use it.
The handy tool is a must-have for creating healthy, flavorful salads. The handheld variety available at the dollar store is compact and can be tucked away into a kitchen drawer, plus it’s easy to use and can juice lemons and limes in seconds. Combine the juice with olive oil and spices for a DIY dressing, or add juiced citrus to sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie beverage.
Fill up your spice rack! Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to your meals while keeping calories and sodium in check. Stock up on a variety of spices to add zest to everything from meat and fish to grain-based salads and oatmeal.
Not only is gardening good exercise, it’s a great way to enjoy fresh produce right from your own backyard. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs are easy to grow and a great way to start. Pick up gloves, a shovel, and a hoe at the discount store, then all you need are a few packets of seeds and you’re ready to garden!
Pick up a few jars of the Mexican favorite next time you’re at the store. The shelf-stable product makes a great low-calorie dip for veggies and whole-grain crackers and a delicious topper for burgers and tacos during barbecue season.v
The pantry staple makes an easy side dish when you’re in a pinch. Serve with grilled chicken, beans, or fish for a protein- and fiber-rich meal that you can whip up in minutes. To save even more time, cook a large batch at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge, where it will be ready to heat and serve. Top with your frozen veggies for a filling, nutrient-packed lunch on the fly!
Beans are a foolproof way to add a dose of protein to soups, stews, salads, and even desserts. Opting for bags of dried beans over canned can slash money off your grocery bill and help you control the sodium content in your dish. Simply check them for any debris, rinse under cold water, and soak the beans in cold water overnight. The next day, you can boil them in water or add to a slow cooker with spices like oregano, cumin, and garlic.
Oats are a breakfast staple that packs a protein and fiber punch – 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per cup, to be exact. Look for old-fashioned or steel-cut oats and use them to make overnight oatmeal, add them to smoothies for a thicker texture, or sprinkle over Greek yogurt.
The handy containers are an affordable way to keep a healthy diet fun and convenient. They are an easy and portable vehicle to carry overnight oats and on-the go-salads (add dressing at lunchtime and shake!). During warmer months, jazz up flat or sparkling water by serving in mason jars with fruit slices and mint.
Not only is a veggie peeler a kitchen must-have, but it can also keep mealtime interesting. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use the handy kitchen tool to make ribbons for fun salads and pasta dishes. Create “noodles” out of carrots or zucchini and stir them into whole-wheat noodles to cut calories and add a dose of nutrition. You can also make apple or cucumber ribbons as a tasty salad topper.