Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Healthy eating shouldn't break the bank.
We've become more aware of the foods we put in our bodies. Not just the flavors, but the quality and quantity.
Health Foods Cost Cutting
How do you eat a nutritious diet while keeping your grocery bill low? The good news is that cheap eats aren’t necessarily unhealthy.
You can cut food costs by eating more meals at home and by making sure they feature some of the healthiest foods from your supermarket -- think whole grains, vegetables, and beans.
Many of these foods cost less than $2 per package. For example, a 1-pound bag of brown rice costs on average $1.75 and cooks up into about 10 side servings -- that's just 18 cents a serving. Talk about nutrition on the cheap!
Check out the list below for more examples. Prices may vary based on the store, location, and time of year.
1. Brown Rice
Great for: Side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What's a serving? 1/4 cup dry rice.
Price per serving: 18 cents. A 1-pound bag costs about $1.75 and contains 10 servings.
Nutrition info per serving: 170 calories, 2 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein.
2. Whole-Wheat or Multigrain Pasta
Great for: Hot and cold pasta dishes.
What's a serving? 2 ounces of dried pasta. A serving is about 2 ounces of dried pasta, which means you get about 7 servings in the typical box or bag of dried pasta.
Price per serving? About 24 cents. You can get a 13- to 16-ounce box or bag of store-brand dried pasta for about $1.69.
Nutrition info per serving: About 200 calories, 7 grams protein, and 6 grams fiber.
3. 100 % Whole-Wheat Bread
Great for: Hot and cold sandwiches, bread stuffing, bread pudding, and breakfast strata.
What's a serving? Labels usually list a serving as 1 slice of bread (about 28 grams per slice), but let's count the amount you'd use for a sandwich.
Price per serving: About 18 cents. You can get a 22-ounce loaf of store-brand whole-wheat bread (22 slices) for about $1.99.
Nutrition info per serving (2 slices): About 120 calories, 6 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber.
4. Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Great for: A quick snack, parfaits made with fruit and granola, and smoothies.
What's a serving? Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers. You can save money by buying a larger container of Greek yogurt and then taking your 6- or 8-ounce portion from it.
Price per serving: Individual servings (6- to 8-ounce containers) cost about 89 cents each and sometimes less when found on sale.
Nutrition info per serving (for a 6-ounce serving of honey vanilla): 150 calories, 0 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein.
5. Frozen Veggies
Great for: Side dishes, casseroles, and stews.
What's a serving? 1 cup.
Price per serving: Around 25 cents. Frozen vegetables come in 12-ounce to 24-ounce bags that cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 and contain 6-8 cups, depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. At one national store, you can buy a bag of frozen organic green beans for $1.79. A bag of petite peas will cost you $1.19, and a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach costs $1.19.
Nutrition info per serving: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables (classic mix) has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium.
6. Fresh Bagged Spinach
Great for: Quick salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What's a serving? If you use it for a main-dish salad, about 4 cups makes a serving. If you sauté it and add to an omelet, or use it for a side salad, about 2 cups is a serving.
Price per serving: 66 cents for a 4-cup serving; 33 cents for a 2-cup serving. A bag (9 ounces) of washed spinach leaves sells for about $1.99.
Nutrition info per serving: 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid.
Great for: Burritos, nachos, dips, enchiladas, soups, or side dish.
What's a serving? Each can has about 3.5 servings, based on 1/2-cup servings.
Price per serving: About 33 cents (or less depending on the store/brands). You can buy a 15-ounce can of store brand vegetarian refried beans for about $1.19.
Nutrition info per serving: About 136 grams calories, 8 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 2% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron.
Great for: Making omelets or as an ingredient in fried rice. You can also blend half egg substitute and half eggs to make quiches, frittatas, egg casseroles.
What's a serving? 1 egg (1/4 cup)
Price per serving: 12 to 19 cents. You can buy a dozen store brand eggs for about $1.99, or a 16-ounce carton of egg substitute for $1.99 to $2.99 at Trader Joe's and supermarkets.
Get Inspired! Find health conscious recipes using all of the above foods and more in the Flexitarian Forward Recipe E-Book!
List adapted from WebMD
VKNOX is a holistic nutrition wellness practitioner, behavior change specialist, fitness nutrition educator, lifestyle transformation coach and author. She is the creator of the R.A.W. Lifestyle System.