Budget-Friendly Foods: 4 Must-Haves for the Pantry

154191644

154191644

The glass of different legumes are on a white background

Photo by: Arnonlee

Arnonlee

The grocery bill probably seems like it goes up every week. Before you hit the store again, plan to make the most of the healthy ingredients you’ve got on hand. These four pantry staples are easy to use and super affordable (especially when you buy them in bulk).

Dried Beans

Dried beans are more affordable than canned ones, and they’ll keep in the pantry for years. Cooking dried beans does require a little extra planning -- so check the package directions and set aside some time. Use them to add protein and iron to salads, salads, tacos or rice and beans. Here's more on why we think beans are a legume to love.

Pasta

There’s no better way to feed a crowd than pasta. Versatile and easy to prepare, this Rachael Ray recipe has a nutrient-packed, bonus pantry ingredient -- canned pumpkin! Whole-grain pasta is a little more expensive, but since the extra fiber fills you up, you’ll eat less. Before you shop, check out our recent whole-grain pasta taste test results.

Corn Flakes

They’re not just for breakfast! Whole-grain corn flakes (yes, corn is actually a whole grain) can make a crunchy coating for chicken, fish and veggies -- a better solution to all the fat of frying. Keep them on hand to jazz up your favorite dishes.

Tuna

Canned tuna is one of the most affordable ways to get omega-3 fats from seafood. Whip up a lighter tuna salad sandwich or add some tuna to pasta for a five-ingredient fix or the retro classic, tuna casserole.

TELL US: What are your budget-friendly pantry staples?
Keep Reading

Next Up

Katie's Healthy Bites: Pantry Must-Haves

A healthy pantry is the building block for any wholesome meal. For some inspiration, I wanted to share what I keep in my pantry so I'm prepared on busy days when there's not a lot of meal-planning time.

Top 5 Pantry Must-Haves

In addition to standards like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, here are some other pantry must-haves that are affordable, healthy and easy to find.

6 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

Could your pantry use a healthy makeover? Use these six ingredients to infuse recipes with flavor.

Budget-Friendly Foods: Top 5 Healthy Picks

These days, who’s not watching their wallets along with their waistlines? After some number crunching, we came up with top five budget-friendly, healthy foods that give you maximum nutrition for your food buck.

Ask the Experts: Homemade Must-Haves

We polled nutrition experts to find out which ingredients they must have from scratch. Favorites include tomato sauce, muffins and homemade salad dressing. 


Ask the Experts: Budget-Friendly Tips

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to break the bank. We polled nutrition experts across the country for their tips for eating smart and exercising on a budget.

Weekly Bits: Budget-Friendly Fare

This week, readers shared some favorite dishes that your wallet and your waistlines will love. Plus, find out one reader's trick for cutting the fat in creamy soups.

Spotlight Recipes: 25 Budget-Friendly Dishes

Here are 25 healthy recipes that feature inexpensive ingredients. These dishes are perfect for stretching your dollar and feeding a crowd.

5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer Fridge

Here are my top five food items to add to your healthy and lean fridge this summer.