Intro

Everyone is telling us to eat a healthy and a balance diet. However, you may not have that much time. After choosing the wrong study-program you probably have two jobs, a lot of stress, maybe one or two kids on your head, and on top of that now you have to worry about the stuff you eat. (Because if you don’t eat healthier your insurance bill might go up as well.)

Don’t panic. I want to show you how you can eat healthier in a lazy way, by choosing convenient packaged foods.

1. Spinach/Kale

Not many people today need convincing that they should eat more green leafy vegetables. Spinach and kale, after all, are the healthiest and cheapest green leafy vegetables out there. The America Diabetes Association included them in their “Superfood” list of the healthiest foods. Spinach and kale contain lots of vitamins such as K, A, C, and E and minerals such as potassium, copper, iron and magnesium. It has anti-inflammatory benefits due to its high chlorophyll and carotenoids content. It promotes healthy eye-sight and it may boost your immune response.

How do you do it? You can buy frozen, pre-chopped, cubes of spinach and kale at your local supermarket. Try adding them into your meals such as pasta, soups, shakes etc.

Here’s a quick example I found at Walmart:

chopped_spinach

It’s called Great Value Chopped Spinach, 12 oz and costs $1.00 (2018). Cheap and lazy! Thanks Walmart.

2. Flax-Seeds

The flax-seed is truly an ancient crop. Its seeds look small and unappealing but don’t be fooled. The history of flax-seed is really rich and interesting. Surprisingly enough, when it was first brought into the United States by the colonists, it was not used for human consumption. Apparently back then you could make linen cloths out of it. The flax-seed stem fibers are of good quality, they are strong and really durable. This is why until 1990 we made linen clothing out of it and the flax-seed oil was used for animal feed. It thus makes sense why flax-seeds’ Latin name Linum usitatissimum translates into “very useful.”

Flax-seed has experienced a little bit of a comeback lately. It is widely mentioned and cited by the diet gurus and researchers due to its health promoting and protective properties. Flax-seed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid. It contains alfa-linolenic acid (ALA), short chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). It is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, lignans, proteins and antioxidants. It contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, folate and phosphorus. And vitamin B1 and B6 minerals.

Adding flax-seed to your meals every single day may protect you from cardiovascular disease, it can decrease your chance of getting certain cancers like breast and prostate cancer. Flax-seed has as well anti-inflammatory properties and it has a mild laxative effect. It may then improve your digestion, help you manage your weight and it can even lower your cholesterol.

How do you do it? It is simple. Preferably buy already grounded flax-seed. Just add a tablespoon of flax-seeds every single day to your cereals, shakes, and even pastas or other dishes. It has a nutty flavor so it can even add some taste to your meal. The most important thing is that it is inexpensive. If this won’t get you to stack up on flax-seeds I don’t know what will.

3. Fish

canned-clipart-canned-sardine

If you ask me, fish is an ideal replacement for red meat (which is high in saturated fat).  Fish is also an excellent source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3-fatty acid is beneficial to your overall heart health. Your heart is not the only one that will benefit from fish consumption. Eating fish at least twice a week will protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is true that fish may contain high levels of mercury, a JAMA study (conducted in 2016) concluded that fish consumption out-weighs the negative effects of mercury buildup in the brain

How do you do it? You can incorporate frozen or canned fish into your meals. Fish-sticks with rice and veg is a simple and cheap idea. Or buy a pre-made salad and throw some canned tuna in there. You can even make yourself a delicious fish sandwich (think canned sardines or tuna) topped with lettuce, pickles, and dill. So go and get your brain some love.

4. Apples

Apple is the cheapest and most compacted fruit there is!  You probably already know the famous Benjamin Franklin saying ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And apparently there is a lot truth to it. Apples are full of vitamins (vitamin A and C), minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium and Folate), fiber, and antioxidants. Eating apple every day can lower your cholesterol, improve your insulin resistance (due to high fiber content) and protect you from certain diseases.

So go ahead and stack up on your favorite variety. And there is plenty to choose from. They come in lots of variates, tastes and colors. And they are available all year round. The best thing is that they are low in calories. One apple contains only 80kcl. So it is an excellent snack for all the weight watchers out there.

How you do it? You can add apples to your salads, you can add it to your smoothies or just eat it raw. And that’s how it tastes the best!

5. Beans

Beans are not only an excellent source of protein but they are also low in saturated fat. It is therefore a good idea to incorporate them into your meal, every single day for the rest of your life (especially if you are vegan or vegetarian). They are full of fiber, B vitamins, folate, potassium, calcium phosphorus, iron and zinc. Which beans should you choose? It really does not matter. They come in different varieties, colors and sizes. You can buy them dry or in a can. They belong to legumes, so think about different bean varieties (blacked-eye beans, black beans and kidney beans) split peas, lentils and soy beans.

They are not only cheap and tasty but they are also really beneficial to your health. They contain lots of antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage and they boost your immune system. Your waist will thank you too for eating them as it aids your digestive system and it can help you achieve that flat tummy. Only one cup of cooked beans contains half of the daily fiber recommendation (15g a cup). Eating beans can help you lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, hearth rate and cholesterol. It can help in preventing breast and colon cancer as well.

How to do it? It is really simple. If you have enough time on your hands you can buy dry beans. But if you are looking for more convenience you can stack up on canned beans. You can add beans to everything you make really. Just open up a can and rinse them off. Here are some options:

  • You can add them to yous soups. I especially like vegetable soup with lentils.
  • Try replacing that ground beef in your pasta bolognese or chili with beans of your choice (I like the taste of black beans with tomato sauce or the Heinz tomato beans)
  • Add them to your salad
  • Try making your veggie wrap with beans inside

It is a good idea to add beans gradually to your diet. It aids your bowel movement so flatulence is perhaps  a minor side-effect (BUT only temporary). Start maybe by incorporating hummus into your dishes or snacks. Then gradually start adding beans to your dishes.

6. Soup

Soup is often overlooked but still a great way to get those veggies in for the day. You can make it yourself from scratch or if you are lazy like me, you can buy a ready soup stock  and just add some veggies of your choice (you can buy frozen soup veggie mixes, they are really convenient).

But for those busy days you can opt for a packaged soup. Nowadays they come in those fancy packages and you can find lots of variates, like tomato, veggie, broccoli or pumpkin soup. The ingredient list of those packaged soups got shorter; they come with no added sugar, no preservatives and with no artificial coloring. The only thing you have to to is to warm it up and enjoy!

If you want to shed some love handles, again soup is a great choice for you. Studies show that a meal in a liquid form (preferably with chunks) keeps you fuller for longer when compared with a solid meal. Soups are high nutrient and low-calorie dense foods and they tend to stay longer in your stomach. A good idea therefore is to first have a bowl of soup before your main dish. There is some linkage made which shows that consuming soup before your main dish can decrease subsequent food intake

How to do it? Just open the can/package, heat up, eat. Come on man!

7. Coca-Cola Zero

Bear with me here. We all know that we should be drinking less alcohol. But still we enjoy having a glass or two (or three) with our friends. It makes us more relaxed and talkative and we forget about our daily misery. Unfortunately, alcohol has negative effects on our liver and our overall health. It causes various cancers and after a night of drinking we tend to suffer from an enormous headache (technical term here is hangover) and our day is basically ruined. We walk through the day like zombies and we drink a lot of water and lots of coffee to stay awake.

If only there was an alternative… Well, here’s where Coca-Cola comes in. Of course it’s not a health-food, but assuming it can function as an alcohol substitute, there might be a benefit in drinking it. Preferably you would drink green tea, but let’s face it, who’s gonna drink tea in the summer? So instead of a pretentious glass of wine, or manly pint of beer, grab a $2 bottle of coke-zero and enjoy. No headaches, cheap and sweet.

Sources:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-spinach

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2128765/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989356/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.W8yrjyWxVpQ

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-apples

http://extension.illinois.edu/apples/index.cfm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8068733.stm

https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/beans/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000726.htm

https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/higher-levels-of-mercury-in-brain-not-linked-with-increased-risk-of-alzheimer-disease/