Snacking on nuts Image Credit: Shutterstock

Staying healthy on a tight budget can be challenging. But we can show you that it need not be expensive. There are many affordable food items that you can buy for less and which will not ruin your diet.

Snack on these budget-friendly healthy food options;

1. Canned Tuna (Dh6.25 per 500 gram pack)

Why it's good for you:

Canned tuna is a healthy high-protein snack to curb your pesky hunger pangs in between meals. One can of tuna in brine has 50 grams of protein and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which is good for the heart.

Tip: Ensure you get tuna canned in brine and not in oil.

2. Mixed nuts (Dh3.95 per 50 gram pack)

Why it's good for you:

A cup of these are packed with heart-healthy vitamins, proteins and minerals. 

Tip: It's easy to go overboard so measure out your snacks for the day.

3. Peanut Butter (Dh9.25 per 340 gram bottle)

Why it's good for you:

A spoonful of healthy peanut butter is packed with protein and fat-burning folate. It is great to have as a snack, especially when you are craving sweets or rich foods. One serving of peanut butter has 'good' fats that help lower cholesterol, reduce heart disease, and lower blood pressure.

Tip: Some stores sell powdered peanut butter which is lower in calories and just as healthy.

Source: Monounsaturated fatty acids and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation, 100(11), 1253-1258.

4. Grapefruit (Dh1.9 per piece of approx. 250grams)

Why it's good for you:

This peel-and-go fruit is rich in fiber and Vitamin C. It is claimed to be a diet food because it suppresses your appetite so you can wait a little longer between meals.

5. Eggs (Dh3.75 pack of 6)

Why it's good for you:

You can eat it scrambled, fried or just boiled. It is brimming with protein plus vitamin D. It lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration which may cause loss of sight.

Tip: Use multiple egg-whites with just one egg yolk while cooking. It will help reduce bad cholesterol without sacrificing taste.

6. Lentils (Dh5 per 400 gram pack)

Why it's good for you:

These little heart defenders are easy to prepare in one go. Without soaking, it can be cooked in less than 30 minutes, providing you with 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein per cup.

7. Sunflower Seeds (Dh6.25 per 400 gram pack)

Why it's good for you:

A quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds not only has vitamin E that protects your brain health, but also has magnesium which promotes a healthy mood.

8. Sweet Potatoes (Dh4.00 per kilo)

Why it's good for you:

Steam it, bake it or roast it. Eat it plain or with butter or salt. These are one of the healthiest and cheapest veggies you can buy. It is high in beta-carotene and other vitamins that help lower the risk of diabetes and cancer.

9. Edamame (Dh7.00 per 450 frozen pack)

Why it's good for you:

Dry roasted or steamed edamame with a pinch of salt is a good alternative if you feel the need to chew on something crunchy. Frozen packs give you 100 calories and 11 grams of soy protein plus six grams of belly-filling fibre.

10. Broccoli (Dh5.25 per 250 grams)

Why it's good for you:

It's rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. You can enjoy this immune boosting vegetable raw or cooked.

11. Popcorn (Dh3.00 per microwavable pack)

Why it's good for you:

Not the movie-theatre popcorn soaked in butter but plain air-popped popcorn are healthy. A cup of this whole-grain snack is a great nutrient source which only has 30 calories.

Bottom Line: Groceries and supermarkets here in the UAE oftentimes offer healthy foods for up to 50 per cent cheaper. Some local retailers even deliver them all the way to your doorstep.