Eating healthy should not be about spending large sums of money, but many specialty health food stores are known for their outrageous prices. Organic produce can be pricey. If you’re looking for ways to eat healthy on a budget, you’re going to want to find whole nutritious foods that you can buy for cheap at almost any grocery store.
SkinnyMs. has put together a list of some of the top economic health foods. These nutritious grocery items are health foods that won’t break the bank. They’re high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but can be bought regularly without wrecking your budget.
1. Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans or Kidney Beans
Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and almost all other kind of bean will deliver a healthy dose of fiber and protein. While both canned and dried beans can be found cheap, go with dried beans to avoid harmful BPAs found in can linings. This recipe shows you how to make delicious rosemary cannellini beans in your crockpot using BPA-free dried beans.
Like beans, lentils contain a high amount of healthy fiber and muscle-building protein. Lentils are a good source of potassium, which helps balance excess sodium in your system, calcium for strong bones, and vitamin K to fight bone breakage as well as keep your skin clear.
You can combine lentils with other cheap nutritious eats such as rice and peas to make an economic health food platter like this lentil and pea risotto. Lentils are also great for soups and chilis.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are the last legumes on our list. Chickpeas can also play an important role in a healthy budget diet because they deliver tons of fiber and protein, but their cost is minimal. Chickpeas are some of the most versatile kitchen ingredients. You can serve them over brown rice, puree them into hummus, or even use them as a base for some healthy brownies. Our roasted garlic hummus is not only delicious, it’s also easy to make, cheap, and a great party snack.
4. Winter Squash
Winter squash comes in many shapes and forms. Butternut squash can be cubed and used in stews or salads, such as this roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad. You can also puree it into an ultra satisfying, low calorie, creamy soup. This recipe combines butternut squash with apples to bring a unique twist to the dish.
Spaghetti squash, another economical type of winter squash, has gained popularity as a healthy pasta substitute. Check out our round-up of the best clean-eating spaghetti squash recipes. For more fun ideas, these 15 recipes will show you the many different ways to prepare winter squash.
5. Old Fashioned Oats
Old fashioned oats, also known as steel cut oats, are one of the cheapest healthy breakfast options you can find. When it comes to economic health food, it doesn’t get any better than oats. Enjoy them in warm oatmeal, or make them overnight with this clean eating refrigerator oats recipe. You can even make savory oats to enjoy on a special morning or as a fiber rich lunch.
Eggs are a cheap way to add fats and protein to your diet. While beans and rice can be bought in bulk for only a few dollars, they’re high in carbs and can leave you lacking macronutrients. Eggs are just as cheap, but contain almost no carbs. Egg yolks are rich in fats, while egg whites are made of pure protein.
If you’re looking for low carb breakfast options, eggs are the way to go. These parmesan and red pepper mini frittatas make a scrumptious high-protein low-carb breakfast everyone will love. You can also try these skinny protein frittatas made with extra egg whites.
7. Frozen Skinless Chicken Breast
Get the most protein out of your dollar with frozen skinless chicken breast. Buying frozen chicken in bulk is a great way to save money, and opting for skinless breast guarantees you’re getting the leanest source of protein available.
You can add chicken to your morning scrambles, your lunch lettuce wraps, and combine it with mixed veggies for a satisfying healthy dinner. This crockpot everything chicken is great to have on hand because it’s easy to make and can be used in almost every recipe, from burritos to salads.
Apples are a great snack to keep on hand when you’re on a budget. They’re easy to carry because they don’t spill or bruise easily, which means you can pack them as a to-go snack or as part of lunch to stop yourself from buying high-priced cafeteria snacks. Apples can also last a long time in the fridge, meaning you won’t have to worry about losing produce you paid for before you get to eat it. You can also dress up apples as a fancy party tray using this apple nacho platter recipe.
Carrots are full of vitamins and minerals that boost your eyesight and immune system. They’re a nutrient-packed superfood you can eat every day! Cut carrots into chunks to add to stews and chilis, or grate them into stir-fries and salads. These balsamic roasted carrots are a great side for any meal. For more on why you should include carrots in your daily diet, check out our article 3 Reasons to Go Coo Coo for Carrots.
10. Oranges and Clementines
Oranges and clementines are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. They also pack a good dose of fiber and have high water content to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Like apples, oranges and clementines are a great to-go snack and can last a long time in the fridge without going bad. They’re the perfect way to add a serving or two of fruit to your day.
What’s your favorite cheap health food? Share it with the SkinnyMs. community! Leave a comment in the section below.