Eating well is a real trick these days. An even bigger accomplishment is eating well on a budget. Forever gone are the days when a loaf of bread costs 75 cents and you could actually get twelve entire eggs for 50 cents.

Growing up as the oldest in a family of six children, I remember many mornings when my mom would fix our staple breakfast: oatmeal and fruit. I thought it was kind of boring at the time, but looking back, I realize we were a lot better off than the kids who ate sugary, refined cold cereals. My thrifty mother also realized that you get more bang for the buck with basic hot cereal. "What is so great about oatmeal?" you may ask. Besides being high in fiber, oats are rich in a nutrient called silicon. (No, not the kind used in the computer industry!). It nourishes the brain for clarity of thinking, and helps calm the nerves. It also benefits the hair, skin, and digestion. Your body needs to have a proper acid/alkaline balance, with most of the tissues needing to be on the alkaline side. When it tips over into acidity, disease develops. Silicon is an alkaline-forming nutrient, and thus oatmeal promotes alkalinity in the system.

Another inexpensive traditional food is the common apple. You are, of course, familiar with the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” (When this saying originated, it may have been before apples were sprayed with toxic insecticides and herbicides). Okay--considering your apple is “organic,” let's examine its nutrient quotient. Apples are also alkaline foods. They contain a high amount of pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a gentle bulk laxative to the intestinal tract. Many people do not realize that apples are rich in calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Other nutrients in apples benefit the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

If you are like me, you sometimes buy leaf lettuce and other greens with good intentions, only to forget about them or be so busy that you don't use them right away. They wilt and die without ever being touched. You can't benefit from their nutritional value that way, and there your money goes… down the drain or into the trash. A better value may be sprouts.You can sprout all kinds of seeds in your refrigerator in just two to three days. Sprouts stay crisp for a long time and can be used in salads, sandwiches, or even just by themselves with a little tangy dressing.