Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Eat well with little money or time

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HealthWiki > Workers' Guide to Health and Safety > Chapter 28: Eating well for health > Eat well with little money or time


Workers who have little time can look for foods that do not take much preparation, but that taste good and have a lot of nutrition.

  • Buy inexpensive, local foods, such as beans and grains. Sometimes we think that as we earn more money we should stop eating what some see as poor people’s foods. But often, these are the most nutritious.
  • Don’t throw away the greens of vegetables that grow under the ground, such as beets or radishes. Add them to dishes you are cooking — they are full of vitamins and minerals.
  • Keep the water that you used to boil beans, meat, or vegetables. You can drink it or use it to cook grains because some vitamins stay in the water.
  • Fruits, nuts, seeds, cheese, and cooked or raw vegetables are all fairly quick to prepare and eat.
  • Spend your money on fresh, whole foods that you can cook, instead of spending your money on packaged or canned food.
Bringing home-cooked food to work is the cheapest and safest way of eating healthy foods. Save some of your meal from the previous day to bring for breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next day. This way you will not have to buy food from the cafeteria or the vendors.
  • You can grow some foods, even if you live in the city and have no land. You can grow food in containers, for example. Many vegetables will grow in a small patch of dirt that gets sun and regular watering. A community garden can provide fresh, healthy food at a very low price. Neighbors can raise chickens together and share the eggs and meat. (For more ideas on improving urban diets, see Chapter 12 and Chapter 15 of A Community Guide to Environmental Health.)