The Most Budget-Friendly Healthy Foods
Don't let the grocery budget hinder your healthy-eating goals! Just toss these 10 healthy items in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the market and watch how far you can stretch your dollar.
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Egg-cellent sources of protein and brimming with the antioxidant lutein, eggs are an anytime-of-day protein. Boil a dozen and to store in the fridge for grab-and-go snacks, or whip up a frittata, quiche or omelet for a quick and easy dinner.
Estimated Cost: $2.20 per dozen
Recipe to Try: Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata
With twice the amount of hunger-satisfying protein and about 40 percent less sugar and sodium than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is a healthy addition to any diet. Use this versatile ingredient to make dips, sauces, dressings, pancakes and baked goods.
Average Cost: $1.25 per single-serve container
Whether you start your morning with a boost of potassium, fiber and antioxidants or grab a banana before a workout, these yellow fruits are one of the most-affordable foods around, and they come in their own individual packaging. Bananas are also a perfect swap for fat, without compromising flavor, in many baking recipes.
Estimated Cost: $1.99 per bunch
Recipe to Try: Healthy Banana Oat Muffins
That large canister of plain rolled oats can really stretch your food dollar. One serving of rolled oats provides 150 calories, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The fiber found in oats has been shown to help lower cholesterol and keep you satisfied. Oatmeal can be enjoyed hot, topped with inexpensive banana slices, or you can make a bowl of overnight oats to enjoy on the go.
Average Cost: $0.30 per 1/2 cup dry oats
Recipe to Try: Healthy Overnight Carrot Cake Oats
Whether you prefer black, pinto or kidney beans, these babies are one of the most-inexpensive healthy foods around. Dry beans need a little soaking overnight, and then they’re ready to be cooked. A half-cup of cooked beans has about 114 calories and 7.5 grams of each fiber and protein. Extra protein and fiber in a meal helps you feel satisfied, plus fiber helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and makes for a healthy digestive tract. Use beans to make healthy dishes like chili, rice and beans, or healthy versions of Mexican-inspired dishes like fajitas, quesadillas and tacos.
Average Cost: $1.47 per 16-ounce bag
Recipe to Try: Black Beans
Unless it’s tomato-harvesting season (August), you’ll be paying a pretty penny for fresh tomatoes. The answer: canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are picked at their peak of ripeness and canned within hours of being picked. Plus, processed tomatoes have significantly more lycopene than fresh. Lycopene is a natural plant chemical shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (poor eyesight as you get older). Crushed tomatoes are versatile for dishes like soups, stews, chili and pasta dishes.
Average Cost: $1.50 per 48-ounce can
Recipe to Try: Weeknight Two-Bean Chili
This legume is brimming with good-for-you nutrients. One cup provides 100 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Frozen peas are much more convenient than shelling your own, plus they can be stored for months. Toss them into soups, salads, pasta or rice dishes, chili, or stews.
Average Cost: $2.19 per pound
Recipe to Try: Green Pea Soup
Nuts may have a bad reputation for being expensive, but they’re pretty budget-friendly when you keep portions under control. Although folks tend to snack on several handfuls (or ounces) at a time, a 1-ounce portion (about 22 almonds) is a perfectly portioned, budget-friendly snack. They’re also delightful when baked into bars or snack bites. Almonds are also filled with heart-healthy unsaturated fat, protein and the antioxidant vitamin E.
Average Cost: $0.33 — $1 per ounce
Recipe to Try: No-Bake Healthy Strawberry-Almond Cereal Bars
One of the most well-liked vegetables is also healthy and budget-friendly! One cup provides 30 calories and more vitamin C than an orange. You can enjoy them raw, steamed, roasted or stir-fried. Purchase the entire head, with the stalks, and you’ll get an even greater bang for your buck. Use the stalks to flavor soups and stocks, or shred them to make a yummy slaw.
Average Cost: $2.50 per bunch
Recipe to Try: Creamy Broccoli Slaw
One medium baked sweet potato provides almost 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and close to four times the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. The bright-orange color indicates the presence of beta carotene, an antioxidant linked to cancer prevention and antiaging. Enjoy these babies roasted, mashed or grilled — the possibilities are endless.
Average Cost: $1 each
Recipe to Try: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon