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10 Healthy Foods that Don't Cost a Lot

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Stock up on these good-for-you foods as food prices rise—they won’t bust your budget.

As inflation tugs at our wallets, many people are looking for ways to eat for less. While it may seem like an impossible challenge, there’s no need to give up on healthy eating if money is tight. In fact, there are many nutritious (and delicious!) foods that are easy on your budget.

Here are 10 healthy foods to add to your grocery list that don’t cost a lot:

  1. Legumes: Dry and canned beans are some of the healthiest and cheapest foods you can buy. They’re a great source of protein, and are loaded with potassium, iron and zinc. Lentils are also great for the heart and help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  2. Eggs: Although the price of eggs has skyrocketed, they’re still an inexpensive healthy food that’s full of protein. They also have many vitamins and minerals and can be eaten at any meal.
  3. Brown rice: This whole grain food provides 4 grams of fiber per cup. That not only makes it filling, but the fiber may help protect you from diabetes and heart disease. Brown rice is a great way to bulk up any meal.
  4. Quinoa: This super grain is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of antioxidants, fiber and iron. Although quinoa costs more than rice, you get a nutrition bang for your buck because of its stellar nutrition profile.
  5. Local produce: In season produce that’s grown locally is typically less expensive, more nutritious and more flavorful than produce shipped from far-off destinations. Look for sales and stock up (but don’t buy more than you can eat or freeze before it spoils).
  6. Canned or frozen produce: The beauty of canned and frozen produce is that it’s usually less expensive than fresh and you won’t be wasting money by throwing out food that goes bad. Just avoid products with added sugar, salt or sauces.
  7. Nuts: You may think nuts are expensive, but a little goes a long way. They contain protein, healthy fats and loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These little nutritional powerhouses fill you up and make a great snack or add-on to other foods.
  8. Greek yogurt: A good source of calcium, protein, probiotics and vitamin B-12, Greek yogurt is good for your bones and your gut. Opt for plain yogurt and add your own flavoring to avoid too much sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  9. Popcorn: For an inexpensive but satisfying snack, pop your own popcorn. This whole grain snack is only 31 calories per cup and contains lots of fiber to fill you up. Flavor with a dusting of cocoa powder, parmesan cheese or your favorite spices.
  10. Canned fish: Tuna and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, blood clots and inflammation. Canned fish is not only less expensive than fresh fish, but it’s easy to eat, with no prep work required.

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Date Last Reviewed: August 16, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT

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