In a perfect world, we would all eat healthy all the time, spending our grocery money on organic kale and grass-feed beef. Unfortunately, eating well can sometimes come at a price, and this can be discouraging for people who don’t want to splurge on those, hormone-free, free-range eggs.
But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a healthy diet; there are certain foods that are high in nutrients that definitely won’t break the bank.
If you have a family, it’s always best to buy in bulk, as food is steeply discounted this way. Many markets also have periodic sales or send out regular coupons.
Otherwise, there are certain healthy staples that can always be bought for cheap. Next time you’re hitting the grocery store and want to know what healthy foods are best for a budget, try the following six foods that are high in vitamins and minerals but won’t take a hit to your wallet.
Whether you buy them canned or dried in a bag, beans and legumes are a great source of protein that often cost less than one dollar per serving.
They contain a variety of nutrients and are high in fiber, and they are also able to last in your cupboard for quite a long time, which means you don’t have to worry about wasting unused food.
2. Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are much cheaper than their fresh counterparts, and they actually may end up being more nutritious.
Though they are frozen, these vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and then stored, which means they have a higher nutritional value than vegetables that have lost some of their nutrients over time when they are shipped and stored in the grocery store.
Oats can easily cost less than 25 cents a serving, but they are a powerhouse of nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Though traditionally eaten as breakfast, oats can also be used for dinner or lunch if they’re prepared savory, making them a great option for any meal.
When it comes to beverages, tea is your best bet, as a box of tea bags typically only costs a couple dollars.
Tea is not only filled with antioxidants and immune-boosting properties, but it can also keep you hydrated, helping your appetite stay in check so you don’t eat when you’re not actually hungry.
5. Canned Fish
Get your fix of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids by purchasing canned fish like tuna, sardines, or salmon.
These options are low in mercury and still contain the health benefits of fresh fish, but at a fraction of the price. Just look for products that are packed in water or low in sodium for maximum health benefits.
6. Nut Butter
Whether you prefer almond butter, peanut butter, or even cashew butter, these nut-filled jars are a great source of cheap protein, and since you only need to use about a tablespoon, they can last you awhile.
A more expensive jar doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier — just watch out for added sugar and hydrogenated oils, and you’re good to go with the three dollar option!