A healthy diet doesn’t have to break the bank.
Following a healthy diet is a goal many of us aspire to, but anyone who’s ever tried knows that it’s easier said than done. Planning meals and resisting cravings is tough, as is finding cheap, healthy food… or is it? According to the results of a Cleveland Clinic survey released on February 1, 2023, Americans cite the cost of healthy food as the main reason why they don’t follow a heart-healthy diet.
While there is certainly some truth to the idea that healthy food costs more than, say, chicken nuggets at a fast food chain, there are tons of cheap healthy food options out there that will help you eat better on a tight budget. From sweet fruits to vitamin-filled vegetables and high-quality, cheap protein options, here are 80 foods to fill up your grocery cart with today.
Cheap Healthy Food
1. Bananas. A single banana usually costs about $.18 cents and pairs really with a scoop of peanut butter if you need a quick, tasty treat on the run.
2. Apples. Apples are full of fiber and vitamins, and they’re delicious.
4. Lemons. You’re probably not about to slice up a lemon and eat it, but these citrus fruits are cheap, full of vitamin C, and add a lot of flavor to both savory and sweet recipes. For example, this 20-minute rosemary-lemon chicken skillet is definitely worth a try.
5. Limes cost about $.44 cents each.
6. Frozen berries. Fresh berries can be one of the more costly fruits to purchase, but their frozen counterparts are more budget-friendly at a cost of $1.88 for 16 ounces.
7. Pineapples. If you like pina coladas, you’re going to love this news: Pineapples usually cost less than $2.50 each.
8. Kiwis cost $1.99 per pound on average.
9. Cantaloupe. In addition to being budget-friendly, cantaloupe has a high vitamin A and C content along with a healthy amount of potassium.
10. Honey dew. Honey dew is affordable, hydrating and delicious.
13. Plums. Like berries, stone fruit certainly has a more affordable season. Look for this delicious fruit mid-to late-summer to get the best deal.
14. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and inexpensive in the summer months.
15. Unsweetened applesauce may not be fresh fruit, but it still contains fiber and vitamin C. Plus, it has a long shelf life!
16. Pears are flavorful, inexpensive, and taste great on their own or on top of a salad.
19. Carrots. A pound of carrots costs only $.82 cents on average. This crunchy, sweet veggie is loaded with vitamins A, K and B6.
21. Cauliflowers. You can make it into rice and even pizza.
22. Spinach is a nutrient-dense green containing vitamins A, B6, C, and K, to name a few. A serving size of two cups will only set you back about $.75 cents.
25. Radishes. Whether you roast them or eat them raw, radishes are an inexpensive, nutrient-packed veggie.
26. Green beans. You can buy a pound of green beans for about $1.68, which will give you about three cups of beans.
27. Canned green beans. Inexpensive and just as delicious.
32. Onions. Although this root vegetable is often an afterthought, its nutritional qualities shouldn’t be overlooked. Onions contain vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid.
33. Green onions. Green onions are inexpensive, versatile, and full of nutrients.
35. Turnips. Turnips can be roasted, baked, boiled or steamed—and as a nice bonus, they’re inexpensive!
36. Russet potatoes. Grab a five-pound bag of russet potatoes for $2.77 for your easiest dinner yet. Wrap them in foil, bake them in the oven, and top them with your favorite veggies, butter and cheese.
37. Corn. From corn on the cob to popcorn, what’s not to love about this inexpensive veggie?
40. Frozen peas. Sure, you can add them to recipes or thaw them out, but frozen pees are surprisingly delicious on their own.
42. Steel cut oats are just as nutritious as rolled oats, and they’re also cheap. At $3.88 for 21 servings, you’re looking at less than $.19 each time you make yourself a bowl.
43. Whole wheat flour. You don’t have to be a master chef to learn to use whole grains in your kitchen. Even a simple change like swapping out all-purpose flour for whole wheat in pancakes can make a difference, increasing your iron, calcium, and protein intake.
45. Popcorn. At $2.59 for 47 ounces of kernels, you can have a crunchy, low-fat snack for pennies.
46. Buckwheat flour can be purchased for $3.99 a pound and makes delicious, high protein pancakes.
47. Millets. High in the B vitamins and only $2.99 a pound, you don’t have any excuse not to include one of these gorgeous grain bowls in your meal plan.
48. Rye flour adds an interesting flavor to homemade bread. Adding it to your cart can help you expand your baking repertoire.
49. Ground chickens. High in protein, low in fat and only $2.97 per pound, ground chicken is a protein source that can’t be beat.
53. Bone broth. If you make your own slower cooker bone broth, it’s technically free since you can use bones left over from a whole chicken and veggie scraps.
56. Canned tuna. Tuna is high in protein and omega-3s, and it’s extremely affordable.
57. Eggs. $2 for a dozen, need we say more?
59. Pinto beans. Whether you go with a bag or a can, pinto beans are affordable and protein-packed.
60. Black beans. A bag of dried black beans costs $2.22, give or take a few pennies, which works out to less than $.09 a serving.
62. Garbanzo beans. At only $.50 cents per can, which works out to less than $.15 cents per serving, you can make a chickpea and parsley salad for super cheap.
63. Peanut butter is filling and contains both protein and carbohydrates. Get this pantry staple for as little as $1.18 for an 18-ounce jar.
64. Peanuts. Want the perks of peanut butter with more crunch? Try peanuts.
65. Almonds. Because this nut contains fiber, protein, fat and a whole host of vitamins and minerals, it makes a great snack between meals.
67. Cashews. Nuts aren’t cheap, but this is one of the more affordable options if you’re going to keep nuts stocked in your pantry.
Herbs and seasonings
68. Salt adds a lot of flavor to your cooking, but goes easy on this pantry staple to keep your sodium intake in check.
69. Peppers. Because what meal is complete without a little pepper?
72. Bay leaves. While they’re not edible, bay leaves add so much flavor to meals like soups and stews.
76. Cilantro. Some think it tastes like soap, but everyone else thinks it’s delicious. Why not see which category you fall into?
77. Parsleys can typically be bought for less than a dollar for a massive bunch.
79. Rosemary. Fragrant and inexpensive, rosemary is a great option.