Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet because your body uses them as its primary source for energy and it’s the fuel your brain run on entirely. If you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your diet, you will likely feel run-down, lethargic and moody/irritable with issues maintaining focus and concentration.
In fact, the average healthy woman needs to get around 40% of her calories from healthy carbs (this excludes women dealing with pre-diabetes or diabetes). In this article we’ll be providing you with 10 top picks to help you fill up on healthy carbs without breaking the bank. Don’t miss out on this very important macronutrient.
1. Brown Rice
- Average Cost Per ½ Cup Serving = $0.10
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per ½ Cup Serving = 22.4g
- Calories Per ½ Cup Serving = 108
Brown rice can be enjoyed with almost any hot meal and is surprisingly filling considering its relatively low calorie content. It contains a much higher concentration of fiber, vitamins and minerals than white rice and gives you 22.4g of carbohydrates in a half cup serving. Brown rice is also one of the most competitively priced healthy carbohydrate food sources around with a ½ cup serving costing only $0.10.
- Average Cost Per 1 Cup Serving = $0.13
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per 1 Cup Serving = 5.2g
- Calories Per 1 Cup Serving = 22
Cabbage is a light but nutritional healthy carbohydrate source. It contains 5.2g of healthy carbs per cup along with plenty of magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin C. In terms of cost, a single cup serving of this green vegetable works out at about $0.13.
- Average Cost Per Medium Carrot = $0.14
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per Medium Carrot = 5.9g
- Calories Per 1 Cup Serving = 25
Carrots contain incredibly high levels of vitamin A – a nutrient which boosts your vision and keeps your eyes healthy. They’re a great snack when eaten on their own and can also be added to salads or hot meals. You can expect to pay around $0.14 for 1 medium carrot.
- Average Cost Per Medium Banana = $0.16
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per Medium Banana = 27g
- Calories Per Medium Banana = 105
Bananas are a great pre or post workout snack since they’re loaded with easy to digest and fast acting carbs. 1 medium banana will give you up 27g of carbohydrates which will provide you with an instant and sustainable energy boost. Adding this fruit to your diet will also give your body a good supply of potassium and manganese which further enhance your energy levels. The best thing about bananas is that they are incredibly cheap with 1 medium banana costing around $0.16.
5. Sweet Potatoes
- Average Cost Per Sweet Potato = $0.23
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per Sweet Potato = 23.7g
- Calories Per Sweet Potato = 104
Sweet potatoes have become increasingly popular in recent years, largely because of their impressive nutritional profile and unique, sweet flavor. An average sweet potato will cost you $0.23 and supply you with 23.7g of healthy carbohydrates. It will also give you lots of beta carotene and contains only 104 calories.
6. Whole Wheat Pasta
- Average Cost Per 1 Cup Serving = $0.23
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per 1 Cup Serving = 37.1g
- Calories Per 1 Cup Serving = 174
Whole wheat pasta is filling, tasty and nutritious. Not only does it cost a very reasonable $0.23 per cup but it’s also incredibly versatile and can be used to make a range of hot or cold energy boosting meals.
- Average Cost Per 1 Cup Serving = $0.26
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per 1 Cup Serving = 1.1g
- Calories Per 1 Cup Serving = 7
Spinach is one of the most nutritious greens money can buy with a single cup serving containing over 15% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for more than 20 different essential vitamins and minerals. It goes great with salads and also tastes very good boiled. Plus, it costs just $0.26 per 1 cup serving.
- Average Cost Per ½ Cup Serving = $0.31
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per ½ Cup Serving = 51.7g
- Calories Per ½ Cup Serving = 303
Oats cost around $0.31 for a ½ cup serving and are a brilliant healthy breakfast option when prepared as oatmeal. They can also be used to bake a range of tasty, nutritious snacks. Oats are a relatively concentrated source of healthy carbs with a ½ cup serving containing 51.7g of carbohydrates. This makes them a great choice if you want to fire up your energy levels for a few hours. In addition to the healthy carbs, oats also contain significant amounts of B vitamins and zinc which collectively regulate your energy levels, boost immune function, reduce stress levels and more.
- Average Cost Per Apricot = $0.35
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per Apricot = 3.9g
- Calories Per Apricot = 17
Once only found in the Mediterranean region, this fruit is now gaining popularity across the world due to its nutritional benefits. Apricots are loaded with potassium as well as vitamin A and C. They also have plenty of dietary fiber that will keep you feeling full for a longer time. A single apricot contains about 3.9g of healthy carbohydrates and costs just $0.35.
10. Dried Lentils
- Average Cost Per 1 Cup Serving = $0.53
- Healthy Carbohydrates Per 1 Cup Serving = 47.5g
- Calories Per 1 Cup Serving = 274
Dried lentils are a great source of complex carbohydrates. They produce a low glycemic response and so are a brilliant option if you want a sustainable source of slow release energy. They also contain high levels of various B vitamins which help to further enhance your energy levels. While they’re not the cheapest option on this list, you can still enjoy a 1 cup serving of lentils for only $0.53.
If you’ve made excuses in the past that you can’t afford to eat healthy, now is the time to shift that thinking. With the foods on this list, you can incorporate a wide range of healthy carbohydrates into your diet for less than $1. So go get started and provide your body with the healthy carbs it needs to stay energized every day.
If you’d like some help figuring out an optimal dietary plan customized for your needs, we are here for you!