Forget that 99 cent bag of Fritos or dirty water dog. Stroll smart down the grocery aisle and choose feel-good foods that are great for the body and even better for our budget. Here’s our list of 44 tasty, healthy(!) foods, all for under a buck per serving.
*Prices may vary depending on location and store; we averaged price based on multiple sources.
1. Oats, $0.13 per serving, about $1 per pound (in bulk) : Take a tip from Mr. Ed. Oats are high in fiber, low in fat, and may even help lower cholesterol. What’s not to love? Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, substitute for flour in cookies, or even use as breadcrumbs.
2. Eggs, $0.19 per egg, about $2 per dozen: When in need for some protein, eggs are quick, delicious, fix. Scramble with veggies for a filling breakfast, add to homemade fried brown rice, or make a frittata!
3. Almonds, $0.60 for a 1oz serving (20-25 nuts), about $5 per 8oz bag: Rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, these super-nuts could reduce the risk of diabetes and decrease body weight. (Sorry, Almond Joys don’t count.) Munch on ‘em during the day, or add to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for extra healthy fats and protein.
4. Peanuts, $0.50 for a 1oz serving (25-30 nuts), about $4 per 8oz bag : Take me out to the ball game on the cheap. Sure, peanut butter might be a dangerfood, but in their natural form, these legumes are a healthy treat. When eating in moderation, peanuts supply a dose of healthy fats and can reduce the risk of heart disease. When add to any chicken and veggie dish, they add a great Asian-inspired flare!
5. Garbanzo beans, $0.30 per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can : These little beans pack a serious amount of fiber. Add to a salad, roast them with curry powder, or make your own hummus.
6. Lentils, $0.12 per ½ cup serving, about $1 per pound (dry, in bulk) : With more protein per pound than beef, lentils are a filling food rich with antioxidants (and quite tasty, too). Here are seven ways to make lentil soup, along with a killer recipe for vegetarian lentil tacos!
7. Black beans, $0.30 cents per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can: These unassuming beans pack a ton of fiber and have a solid amount of calcium, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. Pro-tip: Buy the dry beans for an even better nutritious and money deal — boiling beans at home may preserve more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants. Cook up some black bean soup, or make a healthy black-bean dip.
8. Pinto beans, $0.30 cents per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can : The health factor of refried beans at a Mexican restaurant may be questionable, so mash them up at home. These beans are full of protein and fiber and are a delicious addition to any homemade burrito — breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
9. Tofu, $0.50 cents per a 4 oz serving, about $2 per pound : High in protein and low in fat, tofu is a delicious source of protein for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Plus, soy in moderation may help reduce cholesterol and the risk of breast cancer. Pan fry tofu with veggies in the next stir-fry, or even add the silken variety to a fruit smoothie.
10. Pumpkin Seeds, $0.50 per 1oz serving, about $5 per pound: Move over birds, these seeds are for us humans (and not just on Halloween)! Filled with essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein and iron, sprinkle these in a salad or roast with spices for a healthy, crunchy treat.
11. Chicken Breasts, $0.75 per 4 oz serving, about $2.99 per pound: Forgo the McChicken on the dollar menu — fresh chicken breasts are about two quarters and are filled with protein. Grill ‘em, bake ‘em, or enjoy sliced in a whole-wheat wrap with veggies.
12. Canned Salmon, $0.75 per serving, about $1.50 per can: No need to splurge on a salmon filet to enjoy this omega-3 packed seafood. Grab the canned version for some protein power without dishing out the big bucks. Whip up some homemade salmon burgers or chowder with a twist.
13. Canned Tuna, $0.75 cents, about $1.50 per can: Not only is tuna fish cheap, but it’s an easy way to get omega-3’s (which could make us brilliant). Mix with Greek yogurt and chopped veggies for a healthier tuna salad.
14. Whey Protein, $0.75 cents per scoop, about $40 per 3 lb container : Need an extra dose of protein? Add whey protein to a smoothie, bowl of oatmeal, or sneak it into the next batch of brownies.