There is no need to avoid stocking up on healthy food choices because you are on a strict grocery budget. Although it may seem that eating healthy is an expensive option, especially if you are feeding a family when you break down the cost of many products you will find that most fall well under $1 for each serving. That could be even cheaper if you can grow them.
If you have been wondering how to incorporate better options into your daily recipes, this list of healthy foods under $1 may have you looking at your meal prep in a whole new light. Everything from meal ingredients and snacking foods is included in the list provided below.
Legumes, Nuts, and Tree Nuts
Full of fiber and lasting energy, legumes, nuts, and tree nuts are excellent options to add to recipes or even eat on their own. Rich in nutrients, these support a healthy immune system, are full of dietary fiber, and can be prepared in various ways. They also happen to be well under $1 per serving!
High in fiber and omega 3’s, chia seeds have a neutral flavor and mixes well into your favorite drinks and yogurts, and provide an added crunch to muffins and cookies.
A handful of peanuts can stave off hunger and provide a protein punch to help get you through the day. Use them in baking, crush to add to salads, or just eat as is! You can even boil them with added herbs and spices!
Edamame is a legume and is full of nutrients and fiber. When boiled with a little salt they are an excellent appetizer or snack and provide a light flavor alongside fish or red meat-based dishes.
Full of fiber, beans of any sort add flavor and texture to your favorite dishes. Easy to cook, toss them into a salad, make into a spread, or eat as is with a little bit of seasoning. These are very inexpensive and filling.
Black beans don’t just aid in healthy digestion. They also are incredibly healthy for your heart and blood pressure and taste great on top of it. They can be made into soups, dips, and added to salads or even baking!
Almonds are a superfood that contains healthy fats, fiber, and proteins. They are an excellent snack and can give you the energy you need. Although they may seem pricey. They are long-lasting and a handful is all you need for each serving.
Dry Brown Lentils
Rich in iron and folate, lentils are cheap and can be added to favorite soups to soften or even baked into favorite bread. Packed full of protein, they are an excellent source of energy.
Pumpkin seeds are easy to find in stores, flavored or otherwise. But you can easily roast up your own, making them that much more affordable. Simple collect seeds from fresh pumpkins, rinse, and bake!
Full of anti-inflammatory, and rich in protein, zinc, and iron, peas are a nutritional source of food that is easy to find in the grocers for very little cost. Whether you choose fresh frozen or dried, you still get a push of healthy nutrients.
Watch for when fruits are in season to save even more money on these sweet options. Often full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidant nutritional contents, fruits can be used in a variety of ways. Baking into sweet recipes as well as savory options is a popular use, as is drying and mixing into muffins, cookies, breads, and cakes. You can also simply eat them fresh to get the most of what they have to offer.
Multiple varieties of apples come into season year-round. These are great for snacking, help with digestive health, and have quite a few vitamins. You can also dehydrate them, blend into a puree, chop into recipes, and bake them into your favorite sweets.
Vitamins K and C are found in abundance in grapes, plus they also contain a very high antioxidant compound, allowing for an overall healthier you! They also aid in digestive health.
Bananas are one of those fruits you should keep around for a quick, potassium filled snack or a base for many recipes. Easy to blend, it binds in bread, and can even be made into ice cream!
Oranges are full of vitamin C and are a great source of folate, a much-needed nutrient for pregnant women. Various species and hybrids are fresh year-round and if you watch for them you can save!
Watermelon isn’t only incredibly hydrating, it also contains many beneficial plant compounds. For only pennies a serving, this juicy fruit lowers oxidative stress and inflammation as well! It’s the perfect light and refreshing option as the weather warms.
These small, fuzzy fruits have a bright green flesh that is sweet and tangy. Full of antioxidants and fiber, that also provide vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. Watch for when they are in season to score.
Pears are another fruit that can be used in various ways. Eat raw or use in favored recipes, these soft, slightly sweet fruits are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber for a healthier you.
Cantaloupes are full of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline to help support a healthier heart. Fresh for most of the summer and fall, the juicy orange flesh is best when fresh and can be eaten raw or squeezed and pulled to make juice or smoothies.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidant lycopene to aid in reducing heart disease and cancer. Very cheap, they are even easier to grow for pennies on the dollar and can be stored in various ways for use throughout the year.
Vegetables are not only a healthy option that can be served raw or in favored dishes, they are very easy to get year-round. Look for those that are in season to save on cost, and also know that you can grow your own for pennies on the dollar. With the correct preparation and growing conditions, you can foster production for long periods of time!
Kale is a type of lettuce and although it has long been favored as a decorative addition to many dishes, it is very good for you. You can juice it, add to salads, or use it as a garnish. It is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world!
Corn enhances energy and is full of folate, B vitamins, and iron. It also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Look for it during the summer when it is actively growing and being harvested to get the freshest options available.
Incredibly versatile, potatoes serve as a staple world-round for good reason. They are easy to grow and are cold tolerant, they are inexpensive, plus you can use them for a lot of different types of dishes.
Linked to eye health, carrots are a cheap root vegetable that you can grow easily, or find on any grocery shelf year-round. They are crunchy and tasty and can be made into various dishes.
The many nutrients found in cabbage make them a popular addition to many recipes. They can be eaten fresh, and crisp, pickled, or even grilled to help bring out the flavor.
Excellent for your gut health, sweet potatoes support brain function, vision, and your immune system. Great to eat baked, fried, mashed, or added as a sweet addition to various dishes, it is another easy to grow option.
A head of broccoli serves quite a few people and can be dished up in various ways and in various recipes. It is full of nutrients and is a protective option that helps keep you healthy.
Crucial in supporting immunity, celery is a popular vegetable due to the crunch it provides to many snacks and meals. Liked to lung strength, you can find it in any grocery store in abundance year-round.
Low in calories, but chock full of nutrients, this hydrating vegetable can help lower blood sugar and improve your overall health when you add it to your regular diet. It also can be placed directly on the skin for anti-inflammatory benefits.
Phytonutrients that fight against cancer, enzymes that aid in digestion and other vitamins and minerals make radishes a great addition to your salads or as part of a side dish.
The strong flavors of various onions are one of the best additions to just about any main course meal you can come up with. Loaded with antioxidants and full of heart beneficial nutrients, it is an excellent choice to include in your regular diet.
High amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium are found in spinach to make it an important dietary addition. Easy to add to your favorite salads, it also can be made into various dishes, or top sandwiches and other cold served meals.
Squash is a nutritional power-packed vegetable that is full of minerals and nutrients to boost bone strength and blood sugar levels. It also is crazy easy to grow and the many varieties will provide year-round meal additions.
A crazy amount of B-vitamins is found in turnips and provides amazing health benefits. This root vegetable is truly a super-food and is full of minerals and fibers as well.
Rutabagas improve digestive health and provide an antioxidant boost, amongst other things. This root veggie may not be as popular as others, but it is a great choice and is easy to grow.
Although dairy may not work well for everyone, it does provide an excellent source of calcium, as well as Vitamin D in many brands. A good glass of skim milk is supportive of weight loss and works to strengthen bone density. Dairy can be ingested in many ways, and even if you have lactose intolerance, you can easily find dairy options that are lactose-free.
Yogurt is a get way to help support your digestive health, and with the introduction of the countertop pressure cooker, it couldn’t be easier to make your own for a fraction of the cost pre-packaged. It mixes well with fruits and nuts as well.
Cottage cheese is another healthy dairy option and is a favorite of those who are looking to provide a protein punch to their diet while cutting calories during fitness training. Mix with favorite fruits for a sweet touch.
Milk is a healthy choice that works as a nutrient addition to many recipes or can be served up on its own. Protein, potassium, and calcium are the major building blocks of milk and can stave off hunger in a healthy manner.
Natural grains have been a staple in the human diet for thousands of years. Easy to grow, harvest, and store, they are the basis for many of our breads and cakes, and many are used as both main and side dishes in favored recipes. They are an abundant option that can be purchased in bulk for even further savings.
Rice is an excellent grain to have on hand. It serves well in many dishes and can be a wonderful bed for many types of meat and seafood. It also works well in soup. It stores well, is incredibly inexpensive per serving, and generally is good for digestion.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole wheat pasta is higher in fiber and nutrients than other kinds, supports digestion, and is easy to store without waste. Considered a staple in many cultures, pasta can be dished up as a main course or side dish.
Snacking is often synonymous with unhealthy choices and spending more money than what is planned, but with a little foresight, you can keep healthy, inexpensive options on hand. As mentioned earlier, many of the legumes and nuts described as good choices for snacking, as well as to add to dishes. The following options are other considerations!
Popcorn is a whole grain, is full of minerals and vitamins, and can even help you keep your blood sugar in check. Honestly, it is the perfect low-calorie, healthy snack!
Hazelnut spread is similar to peanut butter, another protein-packed snacking choice. This spread is often mixed with cocoa to make a sweet and savory option for your favorite breads and crackers. Hazelnuts are excellent for bowel health and help reduce inflammation.
Other than water and milk, drink options are quite expensive overall, and also not very good for you. Sugary, carbonated drinks and other canned or bottled choices are not always very healthy despite their claims. As a treat now and then they are fine, but are not good to help hydrate or replenish yourself after a workout.
Coffee is an inexpensive drink if you make your own (which tastes SO much better than store-bought), and has some surprising health benefits. Caffeine provides an energy boost without it being in abundance, essential nutrients help with digestion, and studies show it may actually help protect against certain diseases.
Tea is widely varied in flavor and aromatics and also is full of antioxidants. Whether you buy it as a loose-leaf or choose to purchase it in bags is up to you and will not take away from what it has to offer. Loose-leaf bulk choices may cost less overall, however.
Breakfast is considered to be the most important time of the day for many people. A healthy, nutrient-rich option can help keep you energized through the morning so you can complete your tasks without getting run down.
Avocado Toast with Egg
Both avocados and eggs are excellent nutrient sources. All Together your serving comes in well under $1 for a fulfilling, healthy morning option. One avocado feeds 3-4 people using this recipe.
As mentioned earlier, chia seeds lend themselves well in many recipes. Mixed with yogurt or made into puddings it helps provide a boost of long-lasting energy to help get you through the morning.
Cream Cheese Bagel
Cream cheese and bagels are a popular, filling choice that is both inexpensive and great for when you are on the run. Add a little jam or fruit to sweeten it up a bit and give you a burst of vitamin C.
Peanut Butter Banana Toast
Peanut butter is full of long-lasting proteins, bananas are nutrient-rich, and the carbohydrates of a slice of toast create a perfect combination for morning energy. It also is cheap to make, with each serving coming in well under $1.
Looking for a sweet breakfast? Dip slices of bread in egg and milk before grilling to provide a soft, savory slice of toast that you can top with syrup, fruit, or even whipped cream. Add a little cinnamon and sugar to the egg mix before dipping for a subtly sweet taste as well.
Fruit in Oatmeal
Oatmeal is inexpensive and provides a nutrient-rich, and filling meal. You can also mix in a wide variety of additions, such as butter, sugar, syrup, jam, or even fresh fruits.
Banana Honey Waffles
Why make plain waffles when you can add some inexpensive additions that will sweeten it up. Bananas and honey are a natural, and inexpensive ways to change the flavor and provide long-lasting energy.
Lunch helps you get through the afternoon without ‘crashing’ and craving fast carbs and sugars for energy. But eating too heavily can make you sleepy and slow. It’s important to choose filling options that provide energy and nutrients without feeling overfull. Eating healthy at lunch can make the difference between having a productive afternoon and feeling lethargic.
Tuna Salad with Crackers
Tuna is incredibly healthy for you and also very inexpensive per serving. One can make multiple servings mixed with some other simple ingredients to eat on crackers or even a slice of bread or toast.
Potatoes are incredibly versatile and lend themselves well to various soups, whether cut up or blended in. Mix with other vegetables and broth to serve up a hearty, healthy option for a mid-day meal.
Egg Salad Sandwich
Eggs and mayo create a filling salad when mixed together. Add a slice of cheese, tomato, or green pepper for texture, crunch, and flavor- plus an added burst of nutrients.
Warm and filling, tomato soup pairs well with salads and sandwiches, or works as a stand-alone for a quick meal that will help you keep going through the day. Add a little parmesan cheese or crackers for added flavor.
Steamed veggies are an excellent addition to any meal, and can also be a quick way to fill up before tackling afternoon responsibilities. Add a little seasoning, or serve with a bed of rice for added calories.
Cucumbers are healthy and pair well with both crackers and breads. Create small finger sandwiches that you can eat on the go, or nibble at when you have time if you find yourself in a busy afternoon.
Bean and Cheese Burrito
Full of fiber and energy-producing nutrients, beans, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla is the perfect on the go lunch option. You can make these in advance as well to freeze so you save both money AND time!
Homemade Hummus with Vegetables
Whether you make your own or buy from a store, hummus is a great addition to use a dip for veggies and crackers, or even use as a spread on bread to layer with veggies.
Thai Peanut Noodles
Altogether the ingredients of this dish add up to less than a dollar per serving and offers a very healthy lunch time option. Full of flavor, this recipe can be made in large batches in advance and the meal is prepared very easily.
Mini, homemade pizzas allow you to put exactly what you want on your pizza without eating more than you should (because you know that is exactly what always happens when you eat pizza).
A few slices of bread and cheese is all you need to make a quick, hot, easy lunch. You can also pair them with a cup of soup or salad if you need a bit more to make it through the day.
Dinner often becomes the most expensive meal of the day, and it is often hard to break the habit of stopping in a restaurant or a fast-food joint to get a quick meal. But with a bit of planning, you can easily make a meal for either yourself or the whole family for just a few dollars per plate. Most components are well under a dollar per serving, especially if you buy and store ingredients in advance.
Garlic Roasted Baby Carrots
Roast up some baby carrots with garlic, butter, and other seasonings for a perfect side dish to your favorite protein. Full of healthy nutrients, this is a great way to add color and flavor to a plate.
Tofu Stir Fry
Tofu is surprisingly good in a stir fry and browns up nicely to provide a great texture and flavor alongside fresh veggies and other ingredients. It also is sold at a budget-friendly price point!
As mentioned earlier, lentils are a great addition to many recipes, and salads definitely benefit from the nutty flavor and excellent texture. Their addition also makes your meal more filling!
Stuffing peppers with meat and prices in thick sauces are an easy way to make a decadent meal on a budget. This savory dish is filling and healthy, and is a great way to end your day with a full belly!
Pastas and fresh veggies are a match made in heaven, plus it is an incredibly easy dish to make concerning both time and money. You can follow this recipe or mix up your own ingredients to add!
If you thought eating healthy was an expensive choice, hopefully, these many food and dish options and ideas have inspired you to think a bit differently. For less than $1 a serving you can be feeding your family and yourself all day and still stay on a budget with the choices provided in this article.
We’d love to hear about your own favorite foods, and how you incorporate them into the day! And, as always, please share!