The Best Foods To Eat When You’re Trying To Be Healthy On A Budget - Good Food Made Simple

The Best Foods To Eat When You’re Trying To Be Healthy On A Budget

Jun 15, 2019
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A healthy diet doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a fortune on fancy, foreign-sounding produce, and grains, nor does it mean you will have to sacrifice flavor and delicious tasting snacks and meals. The bottom line? Healthy food is not synonymous with a big price tag, and in many cases can even be more affordable than processed junk food.

Plus, a handful of research has been looking at the connection between lowering the price of healthy foods and increased consumption. So far, the stats look promising. One study found that lowering the price of healthy foods by 10 percent resulted in a 14 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption. Luckily, there is a movement to keep healthy foods down in order to promote better health throughout the country.

There are plenty of affordable, nutrient-dense foods you can purchase without breaking the bank.

Here are the best foods to eat when you’re trying to be healthy on a budget.

Dry beans. While canned beans are pretty cheap on their own (the average is $1.29 a can) buying dry beans in bulk will save you even more money. According to the label, a $1.29 can will yield two cups of cooked beans. On the flip side, the average cost of a pound of dried beans is $1.99 but yields eight cups. This means you’ll save 34 cents per cup. While you do have to take a few extra steps to cook the dry beans, it’s definitely worth it. Beans taste way more fresh and flavorful than the canned versions. The variety is endless, too. Choose from black, garbanzo, white, lima, butter, pinto, fava, kidney, or navy beans. Or buy a bunch and make a mixed bean salad!

Whole wheat pasta. Pasta sometimes gets a bad rap, but the delicious carb can also be quite good for you if you choose the whole wheat kind. Plus, pasta is super affordable and one box can feed an entire family and then some. You can typically find a 13- to 16-ounce box of store-brand pasta for about $1.70. Since there are roughly seven servings in one box, one serving of pasta comes out to 24 cents. Will ordering pasta at a restaurant ever feel fair again?

Oats. Oatmeal is another nutrient-dense whole grain that is usually priced around $2 a pound (and a pound is a lot of oatmeal). Buying in bulk is always better so look for the bigger containers. A 42-ounce container of store brand oats costs around $3.99. Since this sized container yields about 30, ½ cup servings, each serving is just 13 cents!

Frozen veggies. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: frozen veggies are often more nutritionally-dense, flavorful, and affordable than fresh produce. Why? Frozen produce is often picked at its ripest so you can enjoy veggies that aren’t in season any time of the year. One cup of frozen veggies come out to about 25 cents per serving, which might vary by a few cents depending on what types of veggies you buy. One of the most affordable veggies is frozen spinach, which is not only great for you but is also quite delicious when sauteed with fresh garlic and onions.

Chicken breast. Yes, you can still purchase lean meats and not pay a lot of money for it. One of the more affordable meat options is chicken breasts, which are also quite healthy. In some cases, you can even find chicken breast for $1.69 a pound, which can feed two to four people, depending on your appetite. Consider buying and roasting a whole chicken too, which will be even cheaper and provide a variety of white and dark meats, lean protein, and a good source of healthy fat.

Canned tuna. Another great source of protein that can be a staple at lunchtime is canned tuna. Make a tuna sandwich or casserole, or whip up some tuna salad (hold the mayo and use greek yogurt or olive oil instead!). One six-ounce can of tuna contains about two servings, each priced at about 70 cents. You may also be able to find canned salmon for around the same price, saving you lots of money compared to the fresh version.

Eggs. Eggs really are a superfood, thanks to its rich source of protein, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc, iron, and copper. They’re versatile too, making it easy to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A dozen of eggs comes out to about $2, making each egg a little less than 17 cents. Make an egg sandwich, hard boil a handful to chop up in salads, or make a veggie quiche.

Oranges. Orange you glad oranges made this list?! In all seriousness, oranges are a refreshing citrus fruit that contains 116 percent of your daily vitamin C content. You can usually purchase a pound of oranges, which means six pieces of fruit, for just $1. That is under 17 cents per orange!

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