Food is a hot topic these days.
As a result of the current pandemic, most people have less disposable income to spend on food, and fresh food is not as readily available. Lines outside of the supermarket — and bare shelves inside — are a part of the “new normal.”
Many people are turning to grocery delivery services for food, but often have to wait at least several days before their order arrives.
For all of these reasons, it can be tempting to stock up on cheap packaged food to last you for the weeks and months ahead. But there is a way to eat healthy on a budget, even during the current crisis.
The key is to follow the Blue Zones way of eating.
People in the Blue Zones — the places around the world where people live the longest — eat a diet composed of simple peasant fare. Their meals center around whole plant-based foods, primarily because whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables are cheap and accessible.
If you want to achieve good health without breaking the bank, stock up on these everyday Blue Zones staples:
Beans are the superfood in the Blue Zones and are the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya, Costa Rica; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa, Japan. Costing only about $1 per pound, beans are arguably the most cost-effective health food in the world.
People in the Blue Zones eat a wide variety of garden vegetables and leafy greens (especially spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards). Even in the current environment, fresh greens can typically be purchased for just a few dollars, but you can often cut the cost in half by buying them frozen (a pound of frozen spinach can be had for less than $1).
Sweet potatoes are one of the most common foods eaten in the Blue Zones region of Okinawa. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are often less than $1 per pound, making them an inexpensive daily longevity food.
Oats are a longevity food eaten frequently in the Blue Zones region of Loma Linda, California. Slow-cook or Irish steel-cut oats are best. If you buy in bulk, quality oats can be found for just $1–2 per pound.
All kinds of fruit are eaten in the Blue Zones. Some of the least expensive fruits to buy include watermelon, bananas, cantaloupe, apples, pineapple, peaches, pears, and oranges. Berries are a nutrition powerhouse and can be cost-effective if purchased frozen.
Tea is consumed in every Blue Zones location (green tea is favored in Okinawa; In Ikaria, Greece, they drink brews of rosemary, wild sage, and dandelion). You can enjoy tea for just pennies per cup if you buy in bulk.
The Blue Zones diet is 90–100% plant-based, dominated by leafy greens, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. All of these foods are inexpensive and usually readily available (even now). Eat them to add years to your life.
If you are looking are looking for the biggest nutrition bang for the buck, follow the Blue Zones diet — it is peasant food at its finest.