Inexpensive Healthy Foods

Everything we buy at the store is determined by our budget. It determines whether you by name brand or generic, bulk or boxed and sadly it also determines, more often than not, the quality of foods that we buy. There are some very healthy options though that wont pick pocket you while you are strollin down the aisles of the supermarket!

There are lots of people out there that like to come up with excuses why they CANT eat healthy. The main excuse being that it costs too much. Many people simply fear change. Food is very personal and changing what one eats can be very intimidating; so people come up with these elaborate stories on why eating healthy costs just way too much, and the thought that they might already be spending too much on junk never occurs to them or the fact that they could be purchasing foods that could benefit them….whew! Anyway, so here are six super healthy foods that arent going to break the bank! No more excuses!

6 Healthy Foods That Are Easy on Your Wallet

By Suzy Buglewicz

These days, it seems like we’re all trying to stretch our dollars, either by necessity or because we’re becoming savvier about the benefits of saving more and spending less. If you’ve been looking for ways to stretch your grocery budget without filling up on cheap, empty calories, read on. It’s a myth that the healthiest foods are the most expensive. With a list and a plan, it’s possible—and surprisingly simple—to eat healthily without blowing your budget or sacrificing those hard-earned P90X or INSANITY results. If you want to keep your wallet fat and your waistline trim, try to put more of these food items in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Piggy Bank and Man Measuring Waist

  1. Sweet Potatoes. Also marketed as yams (which are actually a variety of sweet potato), this versatile food is as nutritious as it is economical. Sweet potatoes are used in everything from baby food to main dishes to desserts.

    Why they’re good for you: At about 140 calories each, sweet potatoes are filling, easy to cook, and loaded with vitamins A and C, iron, and thiamine. They also contain beta-carotene, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Sweet potatoes are also low in sodium and a good source of fiber.

    Best way to enjoy: Scrub and pierce the sweet potatoes, then bake them, microwave them, or cook them in boiling water. Use them in recipes that call specifically for sweet potatoes, or to make things interesting, try using them in place of white potatoes. For a special treat (and an instant kid-pleaser), add a small amount of butter and brown sugar.

  2. BeansBeans. Long regarded as one of the ultimate frugal foods, beans are as versatile as they are nutritious, with a plethora of flavors, colors, and varieties to choose from. Stock up on the dried (and cheapest!) kind, as well as still-a-bargain canned beans. You’ll have tons of cheap, healthy meal possibilities.

    Why they’re good for you: Beans are one of the best sources of dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Beans are also high in amino acids, and when combined with grains (like the brown rice mentioned below), they make an excellent source of animal-free complete protein.

    Best way to enjoy: Beans can be incorporated into almost any recipe, or just eaten by themselves. Try replacing beef with black beans in chili, soup, or your favorite Mexican recipes. Eat beans hot or cold, alone, in salads, or with rice, for a high-protein, high-fiber meal.

  3. Brown rice. One 2-pound bag of brown rice can provide as many as 20 servings. You can combine brown rice with an assortment of other ingredients, or simply enjoy it with a few simple seasonings. Bonus? Brown rice has more flavor and nutrients than instant white rice.

    Why it’s good for you: Brown rice is a great source of fiber, vitamin B, iron, manganese, and selenium, nutrients that are essential for keeping the immune system strong and healthy, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

    Best way to enjoy: Cook brown rice with water on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in a rice cooker, then either enjoy it as a side dish or add it to soups, salads, and your favorite main dish recipE.

  4. Brown EggsEggs. At about 75 calories each and often less than $2 per dozen, eggs contain more than a dozen essential nutrients, which make them a healthy bargain. And there’s no need to avoid eating eggs for fear of consuming too much cholesterol. Research has shown that egg consumption, when limited to 1 or 2 a day, contributes less than 1 percent to the risk of heart disease when other factors are considered.

    Why it’s good for you: Eggs have a high proportion of nutrients to calories, which means that they help you stay feeling full and energized while they help you maintain a healthy weight. Eggs are also an excellent source of folate, protein, lutein (which promotes eye health), and choline (which helps brain function).

    Best way to enjoy: Eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try them baked, hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, in frittatas, in omelettes, or in any recipe you choose.

  5. Whole-grain pasta. Tasty, filling, and always an economical way to feed a crowd, what’s not to love about pasta?

    Why it’s good for you: Whole-grain pasta is low in sodium and fat and high in complex carbohydrates, which helps you maintain a consistent energy level. Unlike its refined white flour–based brethren, whole-grain pasta is also a good source of fiber.

    Best way to enjoy: Whole-grain pasta is easy to combine with other foods, including vegetables, meats, and your favorite sauces. For a healthier dish, toss cooked pasta with olive oil or a marinara sauce instead of a high-calorie Alfredo sauce.

  6. Frozen VegetablesFrozen vegetables. While fresh, raw vegetables (and fruits, for that matter) that are in season should always be a first choice, having a supply of frozen vegetables on hand is an inexpensive, nutritious, and versatile backup plan.

    Why they’re good for you: Frozen vegetables retain almost all of their nutritional value, since they’re picked and frozen while at their peak flavor. When the perishables in your refrigerator have, well, perished, it’s easy to reach for a bag of frozen vegetables and add them to any meal.

    Best way to enjoy: Frozen vegetables have a high nutritional value. Keep them in the freezer and pull them out any time to toss in soups, stews, lasagna, or stir-fries. They also make great side dishes. But always read the ingredients before buying a bag—some food companies add preservatives and sodium to their frozen produce.

BONUS: Try these recipes for healthy, low-cost eating.

Three-Bean Pasta

  • 1 lb. uncooked whole-grain farfalle or other pasta
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. In a large bowl, combine drained pasta, beans, onion, bell pepper, and chickpeas. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over pasta, toss, and serve. Serves 6.

Chunky Vegetable Chili

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cubed zucchini, cubed
  • 6 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Place first nine ingredients (including juice from tomatoes) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, then stirring frequently until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, replace cover, and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until zucchini and sweet potatoes are tender. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of sour cream (if desired). Serves 6.


Do you spend more on food now that you eat healthy? What do you do to keep your grocery budget balanced?

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