If you’re on a tight grocery budget, you know the importance of getting the highest value for your food dollar. It’s often thought there aren’t affordable healthy foods out there. So it often feels impossible to fill your basket with foods that are versatile, delicious, nutritious and affordable.
Five affordable healthy foods
However, there are plenty of foods that are not just good for your health, but also won’t cost a fortune.
Potatoes will never let you (or your food budget) down. Your basic sweet potatoes, red potatoes or baking spuds are all cheap, filling, nutritious and extraordinarily versatile. A white or sweet potato microwaves in minutes (no foil, please!) for a quick, easy, affordable snack. Top them with whatever you happen to have in the fridge. Potatoes can make a meaty supplement to soups and stews, accompany practically any entree, or even star as the main dish. You might even save on your doctor bills by indulging in the vitamins and antioxidants potatoes provide — as long as you’re not deep-frying them for every meal.
Still something of a niche product, you might be surprised to learn brown rice costs a little more than the cheapest brands of white rice. So why is it good for your food budget? Unlike white rice, brown rice is loaded with fiber (along with other nutrients the polishing process removes), so it fills you up more — meaning that you can prepare less of it per meal. It’s also more flavorful than white rice, bringing a distinctive presence to a wide range of side dishes, soups and casseroles.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Speaking of fiber, try dropping the usual boring white semolina pasta in favor of a robust whole-wheat pasta. Since its fiber content fills you up sooner, it allows for smaller servings. Whole Pasta is also loaded with vitamins. You can use whole-wheat pasta for any of your favorite hot or cold dishes, from spaghetti entrees to side dishes to refreshing summertime pasta salads. You can find whole-wheat linguini, penne, rotini — you name it, you can make mountains of affordable meals with it.
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread is a great bargain overall — a nutritious, filling, delicious food that doesn’t cost that much more than the tasteless, over-processed white stuff. As in the case of whole-wheat pasta, flour milled from whole wheat retains more of the grain’s vitamins and natural fiber, making any meal heartier. When’s the last time a lunchtime sandwich felt like a full meal? Make that sandwich with sliced whole wheat bread and you’ll feel noticeably fuller. You can also use it in stuffing, bread pudding or just about any other recipe that calls for bread.
Nonfat Greek Yogurt
What makes this thicker, tangier cousin to regular yogurt such a wise addition to your grocery list? For one thing, it boasts some pretty impressive nutritional stats. Greek yogurt packs twice the protein and half the carbs into the same amount per serving as regular yogurt, making it a great meat substitute. While it also has a considerable amount of fat, the resulting creaminess allows you to make delicious smoothies at home instead of paying big bucks at the local juice bar. You can also extend or thicken sauces by adding this handy kitchen treat to them for a low-calorie dairy option.
As you can see, these affordable staples can bring a whole new world of tasty options to your table without busting your budget or forcing you to compromise on nutrition. Check the Web for countless wonderful recipes featuring these foods as a way to stay healthy, well fed and financially fit!
About the Writer: Holly is a feisty and fashionable little chef. When she’s not cracking coconuts or cooking quinoa, Holly likes to blog for Sears and other brands she uses in the kitchen. While, Holly is fearless in the face of exotic food she does refuse to eat lamb, because she’s been counting sheep in bed all her life and it just seems disloyal. Veggies, however, need to watch their backs.