Bananas tend to get a bad rap for their higher sugar content, but nutritionists say they can be used wisely to be a great inexpensive kitchen staple. Apparently most people don't get enough magnesium, potassium, and fiber, and that's where bananas come in -- they have all three in spades. The best part, though, is that they play well with other not-as-tasty nutritional options…
"I love keeping bananas on hand because they are cheap and also really versatile. You can use them frozen to make nice cream, which is pureed frozen bananas that have a creamy texture, as a great ice cream alternative. You can use them in smoothies; their sweetness allows you to hide veggies, like spinach, in there and not even taste them. You can also use them as a sugar replacement in banana bread or pancakes," says healthy lifestyle and weight-loss coach Kate Martino.
Sure, fancy yogurt can get expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Stay away from the single-serve cups, and opt for the big-boy containers. The best thing about yogurt is the live cultures and good bacteria, which help keep your gut happy. It's also a versatile ingredient, according to Becky Facteau, RDN: "Plain yogurt can go on top of and in EVERYTHING. I eat it for breakfast with fruit, nuts, and spices. I add it to tacos in place of sour cream, and I mix it into my marinara sauces to add more protein and a creamy, tangy flavor to pasta dishes. Strained yogurts -- like Greek -- are higher in protein and lower in calcium than traditional yogurts and usually fill you up more quickly."
They're stinky, but smart. Providing polyphenols and flavonoids, onions are a cheap option to easily add to a variety of dishes, including but not limited to soups and sauces, making them a favorite of Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD. "This is a pantry staple for me because they are consistently priced within my budget and available in grocery stores during all seasons. Onions have so much versatility that they are well worth any pain involved to chop them!"
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