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Quick Nutrition Tip: 2 “Off The Radar” Foods That Are Worth The Extra Money

Even if you’re on a budget there are still some foods you should consider splurging on. They’re often healthier and taste better. Here are 2 “off the radar” ones to consider the next time you go to the grocery store.

Canned Tuna

The tuna in this can is different than the tuna in that can.

And the peanut butter over here is different than the peanut butter over there.

We know this, of course.

We also know that the highest-quality foods — the ones that pack the most nutrients and taste — usually come with higher price tags.

As we walk through the grocery store aisles, we all tend to ask ourselves this question: “Is it worth it?”

The guys who have the means will sometimes buy free-range, hormone-free, local, organic everything. (Which, depending on who you talk to, is either really smart or completely unnecessary. The jury’s still out on whether organic is better or not. At this point it’s up to budget and personal preference.)

But the majority of us will pick and choose our foods, buying some items in bulk (like oatmeal or mixed nuts) and saving our money for “the good stuff” we believe deserve the higher price tag, stuff like grass-fed meat, omega-3 eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s a solid approach.

But there are likely a few things missing from your “splurge list,” things that you may toss in your grocery cart occasionally because you read that they were healthy.

The truth is, some of these foods are healthy — but not necessarily in the form commonly found on store shelves.

Instead of getting stuck with below-average food or completely overhauling your grocery budget, we suggest strategically upgrading and splurging on the following 2 items the next time you hit the store.

You’ll get better tasting, more nutritious food…and still have some cash left over.

#1 – Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

Why it’s good for you.

The fermenting process that turns cabbage into sauerkraut creates lactobacilli (good bacteria) that helps you digest your food better.

What’s wrong with the cheap brands.

Most stuff you find in the grocery store is pasteurized, which kills the good bacteria. Not good.

What to try instead.

Look for “alive”, “raw”, or “unpasterurized” sauerkraut. They’re usually found in places like Whole Foods or small specialty grocery stores. Expect to pay $6 – $10 for a small jar. Or you could always make your own.

How to eat it.

Straight out of the jar by the forkful a couple times a day.

#2 – Tuna

Tuna

Why it’s good for you.

Great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which help you build a healthy body.

What’s wrong with the cheap brands.

Mass-market tuna contains fish that’s been flash frozen and cooked twice, which degrades the quality and taste by removing most of the Omega 3s. (These big companies will then sell the Omega 3s that have been extracted to fish oil supplement manufacturers.)

Add to that a bland taste and questionable fishing techniques that harm other species of fish and mammals and you have a less-than-stellar product.

What to try instead.

It’s gonna feel weird, but if you want awesome quality and great-tasting tuna, you’re gonna have to spend upward of $3-5 per can instead of the 99 cents the big companies charge.

Look for tuna that’s 1) been packed in its own natural oil (they often have 5x the amount of healthy fats as other brands) and 2) has been caught using the pole or troll methods.

Our favorite tunas are Wild Planet and American Tuna.

How to eat it.

Straight out of the can for some quick protein or as part of a delicious tuna salad.

What Foods Do You Spend Extra Money On?

Let us know in the comments.

About the Author: Nate Green is the Program Director for Scrawny To Brawny. You can find him on Facebook or Google+.

37 Responses to Quick Nutrition Tip: 2 “Off The Radar” Foods That Are Worth The Extra Money

  1. Aaron B. says:

    My splurge is wild caught salmon. Soo good. I grew up in Seattle and now that I’ve moved to Colorado, I can’t find a good salmon anywhere! I’ll pony up the price for some ‘day old’ fish when I can find it.

    • John Underdown says:

      +1 for salmon. Also, whenever we’re at an expo or a bike meet and theres one of those stands with exotic burgers like kangeroo or buffalo Ill have one of those.

  2. Dark Cnauck says:

    Tenderloin…..by far the best.

  3. John says:

    Grass fed Rump or Sirloin. Add salt pepper and garlic.

    Can’t skimp on quality meat ;)

  4. Tvtimeout says:

    Organic (sometimes certified humane) eggs and Wild-Caught fish (never farmed – have you actually see the difference in what ‘farm v. wild’ Salmon looks like…freaky?).

    Trips to Costco can be dangerous when you see the price/volume difference…works for paper towels and laundry detergent, but not always for anything I’ll be putting in my body.

  5. Facebook User says:

    I splurge on organic eggs and beef. Just bought an entire local grass-fed cow !

  6. Marc Brun says:

    A microgreen mix – broccoli, cabbage, kale and radish. Bedded under any clean, local meat or thrown in a super shake. By far, some of the
    highest price “veggies”, but the flavor intensity and nutrients are
    worth it.

  7. Adrian Pell says:

    Olive Oil for me. Lots of studies out their that prove the cheap stuff has none of the benefits of the more expensive counterparts.
    Same goes for Fish Oils, I will quite happily spend a bit more money on things I know are safer.

  8. Drew Galbraith says:

    I eat way too much .99 cent tuna.

  9. Kaitlin says:

    BACON! Grass fed is sooooo much better.

  10. Myra says:

    We raise our own meat and eggs so I splurge on organic vegetables and fruit and quality olive oil and coconut oil/milk.

  11. Joel Richardson says:

    Iv been splurging on good old Peanut Butter & Jam and also good old Aussie Vegemite, that stuff rocks my socks! If you haven’t tried it you ought to, preferably on toast. I paste the stuff on and its also a great source of Vitamin B’s

  12. Ian B. says:

    Gotta get my free range eggs! And it’s not only for health benefits and humane treatment of animals… They just taste better! Eggs are a staple in my breakfast everyday and if my eggs got tasteless bright yellow yolks, breakfast just isn’t the same.

    Also, any kind of seafood I’m buying (salmon, tuna, or any other fish, lobster, scallops, etc) has to be high quality. I don’t get it into me terribly often but when I do, I want it to be quality. The differences between farmed and wild fish is stark and, maybe its just psychological, but it just tastes better!

    And just like tvtimeout said, trips to Costco can be dangerous! With an entry level job it’s tempting to save money everywhere I can, but putting high quality foods in my body is a higher priority than having money for other, less important things in my life!

  13. tom says:

    Always pasture eggs (the $6 ones!) or Omeg3 Organic, grass fed beef or bison, and wild salmon (never frozen) when in season under and affordable in SoCal.

  14. Lukas Fisher says:

    This might cause a ruckus, but I splurge on hunting licenses. All the grass-fed, grass finished beef in the world can’t beat an elk tenderloin that you had to hike 6 miles for.

    Does anybody know why the price always goes up when the ingredients list goes down?

  15. james_zedd says:

    Chocolate milk. Only when it goes on sale for $0.99 per liter!

  16. Richard Bender says:

    Vital Farms Pastured Eggs & So-Delicious No Sugar Added Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

  17. Travis says:

    Walnuts are expensive, even though bought in bulk. I consider that one of my “splurges.” :) Great source of healthy fats, omega-3s, and a decent bit of protein too. Can’t beat them except for the price!

  18. Tøby Børup says:

    Chocolate. Dark chocolate. Green & Black’s 85% or a fair trade, low sugar chocolate. Great to satisfy a craving for sweets!

  19. Ed Northcott says:

    Eggs from free range, flax-fed chickens. I do a lot of shopping at the local farmer’s market, and that makes a lot of the produce much cheaper than in the grocery store… but the eggs get costly.

    Can’t touch the sauerkraut, though. My family won’t let me near the stuff. It does horrible things to my stomach.

  20. Topias Riuttamäki says:

    Organic raw milk that I have delivered straight from the farm. Organic almond butter ordered online. Great staple ingredients for a nutritious muscle-building shake!

  21. Jasper says:

    I recently found out that the cheap raisins at my local grocery store were soaked in “cotton oil” – not good. So I now go for the more expensive ones. I wonder what other secrets I would find if I did my homework on all the “99 ct” items.

  22. Tiger Joe Sallmen says:

    Beef Jerky. The problem with ALL the brands at Walmart is that every single one has MSG. Why do they all do that? I thought by now, it was common knowledge that people don’t want MSG in their food and would not buy products with that ingredient.

    So, the only way to get decent Beef Jerky is to walk out of the big box store and into the local farmer’s market. It will be more money, but for one of my favorite snack foods, it’s just not worth taking the chance on MSG.

  23. Kenny Hutto says:

    For those of us trying to eat healthy and build muscle on a budget, I highly suggest the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” list. The D12 list shows twelve foods that are commonly grown with the most pesticides, herbicides, ect. The C15 list has fifteen food that all have much lower pesticides [a lot of it has to do with how thick the skin is].

    Obviously it would be great to buy everything organic (which is definitely a big goal for me. In the meantime this is a great tool to help us make wise food purchasing decisions. Cheers!

    http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/dirty-dozen-foods

  24. colten says:

    I just love my bison and elk meat!!!!! its so much tastier and better for you then regular beef! some say wheres the beef but I say wheres my bison?and sure its way more expensive but its worth it

  25. Craig says:

    Grassfed+free range meat (all animals) and wild caught fish. I live in south Texas on the coast which actually provides a ton of ranch land for free range animals and fresh caught fish.

  26. Dejan says:

    One more for Salmon with asparagus. Can’t beat that combination.

  27. Iain Thompson says:

    Im a college kid so I don’t splurge often, but one thing I can’t resist is peanut butter. Like JB says it has to have a layer of oil at the top and has to have less than two ingredients!

  28. Kim Nikkelborg says:

    I am lucky enough to be able to splurge on eggs and meats (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.), always free-range and organic.

  29. Bill Adams says:

    I splurge on protein in general. And really the most important thing I do is to prepare in advance. Absolutely a huge change in my lifestyle. And then slowly gaining results from this change in behavior.

  30. Matthew Ronn says:

    Sauerkraut is nasty, but I will try the tuna. I bet everyone will love my tuna breath! Let me know some other great foods to try!

  31. jim says:

    Spectrum Coconut Oil is my splurge item. I use it for cooking as it has little flavor, in coffee for the high quality fat energy and mixed with baking soda for natural deodorant, ( okay, but before you comment, it really works well ).

  32. Paul says:

    fresh eggs from the local farm

  33. Donald Raymond Pilon says:

    It makes sense to go organic, free range, etc but not if it stresses your budget too much. Lay down the basic nutrition foundation and build from there. Oh yeah, and don’t wait till everything’s perfect, or till you have it all figured out. Move forward and the answers will come.

    Best,

    Don

    PS., Thanks so much for the simple but valuable tips..

  34. Ian Harris says:

    Avocado! I have one day. A dollar a day on an avocado. But so powerful and beneficial!!!