Finding cheap healthy foods is one of my fortes. School starts tomorrow, and I have already created my 1st job budget. I have about $30 a week in groceries….pretty unimpressive huh?
Luckily, I have learned that just because something is cheap does not always mean it is bad for you.
Cheap Healthy Foods for Anyone
1. Oats — I buy the old fashion oats or steel oats in any brand though I prefer organic. If I see them on sale, I will buy a few containers because they have a long shelf life. You can change up how you use oats as well. I like to use berries, raisins, apples, cinnamon, or a little maple syrup in mine. Some people also like to mix in Greek yogurts, but I find it gets too mushy and cold for me. You can also make oatmeal cookies or bars. Here are a few oatmeal ideas on our Pinterest page.
2. Brown Rice – Rice lasts a long time and packs fiber. Top freshly cooked brown rice with black beans and salsa for a vegetarian taco recipe. You can also mix in vegetables or spices to keep it new, or you can make it a bed for your meat; one of my favorite recipes is this easy stir-fry. Just remember, bagged brown rice takes about 50 minutes to cook. I throw it on as soon as I get home and am ready to eat by 5.
3. Dried Beans – Any dried bean takes about 30-50 minutes to cook, but they are also rich in fiber and have protein. My favorites are black beans because they pack a ton of fiber and can be added to almost anything or made into black bean soup for a healthy lunch.
4. Frozen Vegetables – Researchers have found frozen vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh ones. The frozen options have a longer shelf time and are sometimes much cheaper than buying vegetables in the produce section. I know the grocery stores around here do 10 for $10 deals on frozen vegetables, and sometimes you can even find coupons on-line.
5. Canned refried beans – Refried beans are just mashed pinto beans. They make a great side to a Mexican dish. I use them in my healthy taco salad. You want to look for a can that only has pinto beans as the ingredient though and avoid any added fat or hydrogenated oils.
6. Whole Wheat Pita Bread – I use whole wheat pita bread all the time. Kangaroo is the brand I buy because it is about $2 and does not have any artificial ingredients. I do hummus and feta cheese with chicken, turkey and veggies, or even nut butters on them for lunch.
7. Eggs – Eggs are a super cheap, effective way to get in your protein.
8. Sweet Potatoes – I also like to do a stuffed baked white potato for dinner as well. It has 1/2 a chicken breast, salsa, and a little Greek yogurt on it. YUM!
9. Apples – Apples are portable and pack a ton of antioxidants! Did you know an apple a day helps prevent kidney cancer by 65%?!!
10. Bananas – Like potatoes, they are not a super food, but they are a good alternative to something sweet and unhealthy. I try to eat them in the morning or right after my workout to burn off the extra sugars the fruit packs.
11. Chickpeas aka Garbanzo Beans – Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus. You can do a ton with these little beans. ChocolateCoveredKatie makes desserts even with them!
12. Kettlecorn – I never knew how healthy kettlecorn was until I did the Ultimate Reset. It actually has a lot of fiber in it, and its ingredients should be very limited. It helps tame any salty or crunchy craving I have.
13. Canned Tuna – Canned tuna is also a great way to get in your protein; however, you want to limit it to about twice a month due to the mercury levels in it.
14. Plain Yogurt (sometimes) – I say “sometimes” because it depends on the brand. I buy a lot of cheap or store-brand items, and I splurge on organic, or at least Greek, yogurt. If you are willing to eat any brand of plain yogurt, you can get a whole serving for about a quarter!! I suggest choosing a plain yogurt and adding your own toppings. That way you have control over the amount of sugar and ingredients in it.
15. In-season vegetables and fruit – While big-box stores will have lower prices on in-season vegetables and fruits, a farmers market can be even lower in cost. Plus, you know that the food is fresh and supporting the community.
Another great resource for shopping for healthy foods on a budget is $30 a week. She blogs about her recipes using cheap healthy foods. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for cheap healthy foods all-year.