It is a common perception that healthy foods can be more expensive than unhealthy foods. While it is true some healthier food options can be more expensive than unhealthy foods, it does not mean eating healthy is always the more expensive choice.
Think healthy eating comes with a price? Not necessarily! Find out more about how these top superfoods make eating healthy on a budget easy.
Real Simple Superfoods
For your next grocery store run, consider adding these superfoods to eat daily, or at least on a regular basis!
Don't fear the cholesterol or fat from eggs. Unlike popular belief, research has shown eggs can in fact fit into a well-balanced diet. But if worried about the cholesterol content, stick to the egg whites, as they are an excellent source of protein.
Besides being a quality, cheap source of protein, another reason eggs are a top superfood is they are a good source of choline. Choline is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is important for brain and nervous system function.
Enjoy scrambled for breakfast or prepare hard-boiled eggs in bulk, as they make a convenient, protein-packed snack!
Canned Tuna and Salmon
Both types of these canned fish provide ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of "healthy" or "good" fat. The omega-3 content paired with a high amount of protein makes them both superior healthy food on a budget.
Eat straight out of the can, top onto sprouted crackers, create tuna or salmon patties or salads. When purchasing, try looking for products that are only preserved in water, rather than oils and saltwater that ultimately manipulate the nutritional content.
Packed with protein, calcium, and other valuable nutrients, cottage cheese is flexible and inexpensive.
The calcium-rich dairy product compliments fresh peaches and pineapple and offers creaminess to smoothies. It also pairs well with a salad for a well-balanced snack or meal option.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Similar to cottage cheese, Greek yogurt is a flexible and inexpensive dairy protein choice. It can be considered a superfood, as in addition to protein, it is a good source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12. It is also a source of probiotics making it good for colon health.
Plain Greek yogurt can be used as a base for healthy yogurt bowls, sauces/spreads, fruit parfaits, and as a replacement for sour cream.
These cheap, nutritious foods can be great staples for anyone but especially those following a vegan diet. Having these staples on hand, whether fresh, canned, or frozen, will provide building blocks for many meal and snack recipes.
Unlike popular belief, pasta can fit into a well-balanced diet. Whole grain noodles are not only low in price but offer fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. They can be a cheap, healthy base for a balanced meal when paired with proteins, vegetables, and heart-healthy fats.
Drizzle noodles with olive oil and a shake of parmesan cheese or nutrient-rich pesto and tomato sauces. If worried about carb content, it can be reduced by bulking up with veggies (zucchini and broccoli) and/or with a lean protein source (grilled chicken breast or shrimp).
Oatmeal is an excellent way to power-pack your mornings, as oats are loaded with fiber and nutrients all for a low cost.
Making popcorn from kernels can be a budget-friendly snack without having the artificial flavors and hydrogenated oils packaged popcorn snacks may contain. For amplified taste, use a wide variety of seasonings such as cinnamon, oregano, cumin, nutritional yeast, taco seasoning, and barbeque seasoning, just to name a few.
Just be sure to go easy on the butter and salt if their additions are necessary.
A bag of apples each week keeps the wallet at its peak! Apples are a budget-friendly superfood thanks to their high nutrient and fiber content.
Pair apple slices with peanut butter, add into oatmeal, or simply enjoy on their own.
A bunch of bananas is a top budget-friendly superfood, as they are low in cost, rich in vitamins, minerals, and a convenient snack.
Too ripe for your liking? Do not throw it away or waste it! Peel, chop into chunks, and store in the freezer - frozen bananas are a great way to offer creaminess into smoothies!
Broccoli is considered to be a cheap, healthy food for numerous reasons. Broccoli is packed with nutrients without packing on calories. It is loaded with vitamin K and C along with providing fiber, potassium, and folic acid.
As a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli also contains specific compounds - called glucosinolates - that have been shown to help fight cancer.
Besides buying fresh, consider buying frozen broccoli (especially when not in season) to have this green superfood always on hand at home. Snack on broccoli stalks on their own, steam and serve as a side, or throw into dishes to offer bulk without accelerating calorie count.
Carrots are often overlooked as a superfood, but they deserve all the status as a nutrient powerhouse! They are a nutritious, affordable, and convenient snack to have on hand.
Known for their vitamin A content, carrots also provide high amounts of fiber along with offering vitamin K. The fiber content offers digestive health while the combination of both fiber and vitamin K promotes heart health.
Dip fresh carrots sticks into peanut butter or hummus for a well-balanced snack. Or, add fresh, frozen, or canned carrots into salads, soups, or other main dishes and casseroles.
Though starchy potatoes are thought to be "unhealthy", they certainly offer more than what is generally anticipated. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and fiber.
In the kitchen, sweet potatoes also offer a naturally-sweetened taste, making them flexible for both sweet and savory dishes.
Peas are not only a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they also are a cheap vegan protein source.
Having a frozen bag of peas in the freezer or a can of peas in the pantry is an easy way to bulk up the protein and nutrient content of a meal. They can easily be added to pasta, rice dishes, soups, salads, stir-fries, and casseroles.
Leafy greens usually top the list of nutrition superfoods and for good reason. Leafy greens, like spinach, are incredibly nutrient-dense. They provide virtually zero calories yet provide a good amount of B vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin A.
Like other superfood vegetables, spinach can be enjoyed fresh or frozen and easily added to egg dishes, soups, smoothies, casseroles and so much more.
Canned or bagged, beans are commonly known to be budget-friendly. They can even take the place of part or all of the meat in most dishes to make them more budget-friendly. Beans, such as chickpeas, are a plant-based protein source, offering high amounts of fiber and vitamins and minerals.
Beans can be used for veggie burgers, added into casseroles or soup, top onto salads, bulk up taco meat, or mix into a tip.
Tips for Eating Cheap, Nutritious Food
Cheap, healthy food is not confined to the list above. In fact, there are several ways to eat healthy food on a budget including these listed tips.
Make a Game Plan
Have a list and mostly stick to it. Some sort of game plan for weekly meals and snacks offers structure and reduces an aimless shopping trip.
Additionally, shopping while hungry can increase the odds of racking up the grocery bill. Not only are you more likely to grab more food products, but more likely to be poorer food choices.
Check for Ads and Coupons
Take advantage of the promoted advertisements and coupons. As indicated above, have a list and mostly stick to it.
Look through ads and coupons before shopping and plan to base meals and snacks around healthy foods that are on sale. Doing so allows a great opportunity to come across cheap, healthy food!
Choosing a generic over name brand is one of the best options for obtaining healthy food on a budget. Ultimately, don't be afraid to choose a generic product!
Name brand and generic are essentially the same, but with varying costs. Choosing generic products over name brands can be extremely generous to your wallet.
Take Advantage of Local Ingredients
Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables is often cheaper per weight basis compared to purchasing them at the grocery store. Buying a larger amount at a local farmer’s market or directly from a farmer can further enhance budget-friendly healthy eating.
If possible, store extra amounts in a freezer to access healthy, nutrient-rich fruits and veggies all year long.
Recapping Budget-Friendly Superfoods
Healthy eating often gets a reputation as being expensive. However, healthy eating does not have to translate to spending a lot of money on groceries.
Keeping these top budget-friendly superfoods on hand can ensure healthy foods are stocked in the kitchen for building healthy, balanced meals and snacks (for any diet) without breaking the bank!