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



The glass of different legumes are on a white background

Photo by: 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.


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.


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?
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