8 Healthy Low Cost Foods
Updated: May 18, 2022
Summer plans are coming up and inflation is here (and ready to stay). Your grocery bill is likely something that has already gone up but here are a few items you can focus on throughout the week to keep your bill from increasing…or even decrease it all together all while still eating nutritious foods.
One common misconception I often hear is eating healthy is expensive, and while it can be…it doesn't have to be! Here are 8 foods perfectly packed with nutrition and versatility that do not break the bank.
Fancy nut butters are all fine and dandy, but peanut butter gets the job done just as well— if not better all at a lower price. Peanut butter actually has about 1 gram more of protein per serving when compared to almond butter (sorry to those with a peanut allergy). Kroger has a fantastic peanut butter (pictured) hovering around $1.89 that contains no added sugar or oils. I personally buy this peanut butter religiously and recommend it to everyone I get the chance (hence why peanut butter is the first on this list). Be sure to stir this peanut butter and refrigerate it so you don't get that annoying oil separation.
Ole faithful banana’s...so versatile and one of the cheapest fruits around averaging $0.20 per single banana. They go great in smoothies, topped on peanut butter toast, or alone as a pre-workout snack. Another thing we love about bananas? They’re a great grab n' go snack—nature did all the packaging and wrapping for us.
These puppies are quick to ripen, so peel + freeze leftover bananas you know you won't eat before they turn a cohesive brown color. Instead, pull them out when it's time to whip up a smoothie or banana breads.
It would be a crime to not include her on this list. Tofu is the cheapest high-protein source around averaging about $1.89 for a package. Another reason? It is a 100% plant-based protein source. See here on how to get crispy, tasty tofu.
Bagged Conventional Spinach
While I'm here, I might as well state my stance on organic vs. conventional. If you can afford buying organic—go for it. I recommend prioritizing produce (fruits + veggies) and animal products (meat, dairy, + eggs). If it is not in the budget or just not as do-or-die for you, stick to conventional. At the end of the day eating any sort of fruits or veggies, conventional or not, is always going to do way more good for your body than consuming none at all.
Back to my point…you will find bagged spinach to be well over half the price per ounce when compared to organic plastic boxed spinach. If you find the spinach becoming soggy and wilted, throw a paper towel in to absorb moisture.
Every produce item that is fresh, frozen can do better in terms of price and shelf life. What stays consistent is the nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables in the freezer aisle are frozen in their peak, essentially "locking in" their peak nutritional value. Fresh berries are no joke on the budget, but frozen berries can be found at a lower price while still working in most ways we like like berries; in our smoothies, yogurt/oatmeal bowls, or even by themselves. If you need to thaw them, just pop them in the microwave under a low setting.
Where would we be without oats? Cold, hard breakfasts 24-7—that’s where. Not only do oats bring us oatmeal, but they add whole-grains to baked goods, veggie burgers, and even breads.
These puppies can last a century and always be there when you need to “pump” up your dishes with some protein, fiber, and carbs. Add to soups, salads, rice bowls, tacos or even mash them down into some burger patties. Any and all beans have a place here at virtually the same cost, just be sure to look for low sodium options.
Canned fish…an area that I am still working on adjusting myself…but deep down I know this stuff can be a secret weapon when used right. In essence, canned fish can be used in the majority of the same ways fresh fish is used in dishes; add on top of a salad, mix with rice, create tacos, and even make into your own patties. Canned fish also holds an insane shelf life, so stock up when on sale!
Do we spot a theme here? Majority of this list comes from plants. Eating majority plants not only provides massive gains for your health, but it also your wallet.
Another theme? Just about all these items (minus the spinach and banana's) can be bought in bulk to save you even more money (and time) in the long run. If bulk-shopping is not something your immediate budget can do, try shopping at discount stores. My favorite recommendation being Aldi if you have one near by.
While cutting back on our grocery budget isn't going to buy us a yacht, it is going to make eating nutritious foods *that* much easier.