50 Healthy Foods to Eat on a Budget

If you're trying to feed your family nutritious foods on a budget, we've got some great news for you! It's actually not that difficult – or expensive – to eat healthy meals.
Happy young woman cooking delicious and healthy food in the loft kitchen at home
Table of Contents

Check out this list of 50 healthy and affordable foods that will help keep your grocery bills down while you are on a budget.

Healthy eggs from the farm. Eggs from free range.

1. Eggs

Eating healthy can look different for people that are on a tight budget. Eggs provide a sure-fire path to healthy eating.

Eggs are a staple item in most homes. They’re extremely nutritious and typically cost less than 20 cents per egg.

A whole large egg contains 6 grams of protein and delivers some vitamin D as well. Eggs also contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health and decreased the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Your grocery bill will thank and so will your heart. That’s right eggs are a budget-friendly food that has a good dose of heart-healthy fats.

We often think of eggs for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways – look to eggs to make a savory dinner quiche, vegetable-packed fried rice, or egg salad sandwiches.

Eating healthy foods like eggs contributes to your health and your savings account. Try these Dairy-free Deviled Eggs now and let us know how you enjoy them.

Flat lay view at canned carrots, chickpeas, kidney beans, green beans, peas and corn

2. Canned Beans

If you’re looking for healthy budget-friendly foods, canned beans are a great option. They’re affordable and very nutritious and their health benefits are pretty amazing.

There are several types of beans to choose from and many of them cost less than $1 per can. (You can save even more money by choosing dried beans, but they do require more time to cook.)

Just one cup of beans contains a significant amount of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein.

This healthy food contains about 15 grams of protein, which is essential for lots of bodily functions, including building and maintaining muscle strength.

Further, beans can be incorporated into almost any dish. Try them in soups, salads, tacos, and burritos. Beans should be part of your healthy diet.

Mung bean, lentil green, lentils, peas, beans

3. Lentils

If you’re looking for affordable foods that offer a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and manganese, lentils are a good option.

They also contain antioxidants that may help to fight inflammation and reduce the onset of chronic diseases.

Polyphenol-rich lentils have potential health benefits as complementary and alternative medicines, which are exerted in the form of disease-fighting antioxidants.

They contain many vitamins and minerals that help your cheap and healthy meal plan significantly cheaper.

Lentils can be used in a variety of ways and are very easy to prepare (get inspiration from these healthy lentil recipes).

Simply rinse dry lentils to remove any debris, place them in a large pot and fill it halfway with water.

Let the lentils simmer until they’re tender, then enjoy! Lentils can be used to make veggie burgers, soups, and stews.

Concept of tasty eating with canned tuna on white background

4. Canned Tuna

Looking for healthy, cheap foods? Check out canned tuna! Most 4– to 5-ounce cans of tuna cost less than $2.

Tuna also contains great health benefits that you can get out of a one-cup serving. Lean proteins are great for weight loss and this cheap healthy pantry staple is no exception.

Tuna is a great source of protein, and it also contains some omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health and reducing inflammation.

Tuna also provides a fair amount of the minerals selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Choose canned tuna for salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. Try our Tuna Salad on Cucumber Crackers today.

Oats

5. Oats

If you’re looking for healthy and affordable food to add to your pantry, look no further than oats. In order to save money, be sure to buy large containers of oats instead of those prepackaged options.

Plant-based diets rely heavily on oats. This is because of all of the macros and other vitamins and minerals that oats provide.

Oats are nutrient-dense whole grains that offer an easy way to provide your family with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

They are also known to reduce inflammation and are cheap and healthy. If you are looking for the best deal when it comes to buying oats, check out these oats.

Be Sure to Buy in Bulk

A large container of plain oats is not only cheaper but also more nutritious than packets of prepared flavored oatmeal, which are more processed and often have added sugar.

Whole-grain rolled oats are rich in fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and helps keep you full and satisfied.

A serving of oats also contains B vitamins, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium.

Oats are typically eaten for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Add them to casseroles for an extra source of fiber, or mix it up with a bowl of savory oatmeal. Or you can add them to the top of a bagel like we did in our Banana Oat Bagels.

Frozen vegetables on table

6. Frozen Vegetables

Frozen veggies are basically the most affordable way to get your daily dose of veggies. Not to mention, they’re extremely convenient because you can cook them straight from the freezer.

Cheap healthy frozen vegetables are often as nutritious as fresh vegetables (and in some cases, even more so). Plus they reduce food waste that fresh produce often creates.

Frozen vegetables are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber without breaking the bank.

They’re picked at the peak of ripeness and flash-frozen to preserve their nutrients, flavor, and texture.

Frozen vegetables are a great way to add nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants to your diet. They can be used in soups, stews, stir-fries, casseroles, and more.

They’re also low in calories and can help you reach your weight-loss goals.

Frozen Berries

7. Frozen Berries

If you’re looking for a nutritious and affordable snack, frozen berries may be a perfect choice.

Frozen berries can last in the freezer for several months and usually cost less than $4 per bag. A couple of great choices to keep on hand are frozen blueberries and frozen strawberries. Check the bags and buy berries without added sugar.

Blueberries are small in size, but they are rich in nutrients and are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Research shows that blueberries have been linked to improved cardiovascular health and can contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Strawberries are high in vitamin C and fiber, as well as folate. They are rich in antioxidants, which research shows can help to reduce the risk of chronic disease and help keep blood sugars in a healthy range.

Add frozen berries to your favorite smoothie recipe or make a yogurt parfait with them. Frozen berries can be used to make jams, pies, and other desserts. Try these recipes made with frozen fruit for a nutritious treat on a budget.

Raw chicken breast

8. Chicken Breasts

At roughly $3 per pound, chicken breasts are a great value. While prices are going up do to inflation, per pound, chicken is still a great source of B vitamins.

B-Vitamins & Chicken

Chicken contains many different types of B-vitamins. Some are found in the lighter meat, while others are found in the darker meat.

Chicken is high in Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Niacin, Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Thiamine, and Riboflavin. Chicken has Vitamin B6, Vitamin 12, Niacin, Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Thiamine, and Riboflavin in addition

Chicken is a great source of lean protein and can be cooked in a variety of ways. grilled, baked, roasted, or stir-fried.

Some of our favorite chicken recipes include:

I typically grill or bake chicken breasts, but they can also be pan-fried, sliced and added to salads, or shredded and used in tacos or burritos.

One thing to keep in mind is that chicken breasts can dry out quickly, so it’s important not to overcook them.

Seafood Fish

9. Frozen Seafood

Frozen seafood is a great way to get your recommended two servings of fish per week without breaking the bank. At around $10 per pound, it’s an affordable option that can be used in a variety of recipes.

Frozen seafood is typically flash-frozen at the peak of freshness, which helps to preserve its flavor, texture, and nutrients.

Fresh seafood is also very healthy for you if eaten in the correct portion sizes. But fresh seafood is not usually as affordable as frozen.

When buying frozen seafood, look for wild-caught fish, which is typically healthier than farm-raised fish.

Some of our favorite frozen seafood items include:

  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Tilapia

Frozen seafood can be used in soups, stews, pasta dishes, stir-fries, and more.

Brown rice

10. Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber and B vitamins. A one-pound bag usually costs about $2.50

Rice can be cooked in a variety of ways including boiling, steaming, baking, and frying. It’s a great side dish for chicken or fish or can be used in place of pasta in recipes.

Brown rice is a budget-friendly whole grain that can be used in a variety of recipes. It’s high in fiber and B vitamins and really helps with the grocery budget.

quinoa

11. Quinoa

Quinoa is a protein-rich grain that is also high in fiber and minerals. A one-pound bag usually costs about $4.00

Quinoa can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, baking, and frying. It makes a great side dish for chicken or fish or can be used in place of pasta in recipes.

Ground chicken or turkey raw meat on wooden board. Black background. Top View

12. Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is a great substitute for ground beef in recipes. It’s usually less expensive and lower in fat. A one-pound package usually costs about $2.00

Ground turkey can be used in a variety of recipes, including tacos, chili, spaghetti, and meatloaf.

It’s a great way to add protein to your diet without breaking the bank. Check out this Sweet & Savory Turkey Pumpkin Chili for something different.

Homemade peanut butter and nuts

13. Nut Butter

Nut butter like peanut butter and almond butter are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and vitamins. They usually cost between $2.00 and $4.00 per jar.

Peanut butter is the cheapest of the nut butter category, but peanut butter isn’t necessarily the healthiest.

If you love peanut butter, the store brands are usually the cheapest.

Peanut butter contains a range of nutrients that may offer health-boosting benefits.

However, it is important to check the label when buying peanut butter. Many brands today add ingredients like sugar, vegetable oil, and trans fats.

Nut butter can be used in a variety of ways, including on toast, in smoothies, and as a dip for fruit or vegetables.

They make a great addition to recipes like oatmeal, pancakes, and cookies.

bowl of greek yogurt

14. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

If you’re looking for a healthy, inexpensive snack option, nonfat Greek yogurt is a great choice. Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers and cost about 89 cents each when found on sale.

A single serving of nonfat Greek yogurt contains around 15 grams of protein, making it a filling snack option. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring… even though nonfat yogurt plain can be somewhat bland.

Just remember there are many ways to dress it up. Fresh fruit for example, or their frozen counterparts, is a great way to dress up yogurt while keeping it on the healthy foods list.

If you’re looking for a healthy, inexpensive snack option, nonfat Greek yogurt is a great choice. Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers and cost about 89 cents each when found on sale.

One way to make nonfat Greek yogurt more exciting is to add fruit.

Nonfat Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in calories, making it the perfect snack for people on the go.

You can make parfaits with fruit and granola or add them to smoothies for a quick and easy meal.

Canned sliced tomatoes in just opened tin can. Non-perishable food

15. Canned Tomato and Tomato Sauces

Canned tomatoes and marinara sauce are a great way to add flavor to recipes without breaking the budget. Canned tomatoes are a healthy food since they also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.

A can of diced tomatoes usually costs about $1.00. You can buy a 24 or 28-ounce jar or can of marinara or pasta sauce for $1.67.

Tomatoes can be used in a variety of recipes, including pasta sauce, chili, and soup.

Canned tomatoes are also a great way to make your own tomato sauce. Simply saute some garlic and onion, add the tomatoes, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add some herbs and spices for extra flavor.

A single serving of vegetarian pasta sauce has health benefits like being a low-calorie source of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 15 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

Sweet potato

16. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes or yams are very nutritious and better yet, they’re inexpensive. A one-pound bag usually costs about $1.50.

Yams can be baked, roasted, or mashed. They make a great side dish for chicken or fish and can also be used in soups and stews.

Mashed sweet potatoes are a great way to add flavor and nutrients to recipes like pancakes, waffles, and bread.

A good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium are some of the health benefits of this yummy food.

They’re also low in calories and fat-free. If you have a sweet tooth try our Sweet Potato Cookies and let us know how you like them.

Raw onions in basket

17. Onions

Although this root vegetable is often forgotten, its nutritional qualities shouldn’t be overlooked.

Onions contain vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid. They’re low in calories and sodium and are fat-free food.

Onions can make a great addition to any dish, from salads to soups to casseroles.

They can also be eaten raw, sautéed, or roasted. A three-pound bag of onions usually costs around $2.00

Olive Oil Closeup

18. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a pantry staple that has been linked to blood sugar control and heart health. It’s also a healthy cooking oil since it’s low in unhealthy saturated fats.

Extra virgin olive oil is the best type of olive oil to use since it hasn’t been exposed to high temperatures or chemicals during the production process.

A 16-ounce bottle of extra virgin olive oil usually costs between $8.00 and $10.00.

When cooking with olive oil, it’s best to use a small amount since it is a high-fat food.

Raw sliced violet potatoes. Black background. Top view

19. White Potatoes and Purple Potatoes

Potatoes are a cheap healthy way to get your starch. Potatoes usually get a bad wrap as a high-calorie food, but that is due to all the junk that most people put on them.

Actually, potatoes are a fairly low-calorie food. A medium potato with the skin has about 110 calories.

You can buy a five-pound bag of potatoes for $3.00. If you are looking for a healthy way to season up your potatoes you can try parmesan cheese. If you are dairy-free, you can also use nutritional yeast.

Various pasta

20. Pasta

Pasta is cheap food to buy. It is usually less than $1 per box. When it goes on sale, I stock up so that I have quick and easy meals that are also healthy.

A one-pound box of pasta can feed four to eight people. Pasta is a good source of carbohydrates that can give you essential nutrients and energy.

Choose whole-grain pasta to improve the health quotient even more. It isn’t as cheap as conventional pasta, but it’s still a bargain. If your family isn’t fond of the difference in texture, try cooking it for a longer period or combining it half and half with plain pasta.

Conclusion

If you are looking for foods on a budget, the above list is a great place to start. All of these foods are healthy and will help you stretch your food budget.

What are some of your favorite cheap healthy foods? Let me know in the comments below.

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