Here is a list of healthy foods for under a dollar to help you feed your family nutritious meals without spending a lot of money:
There is a common misconception that in order to feed your family healthy food, you need to spend a lot of money. You might be surprised to hear that feeding your family healthy food is actually more affordable than processed foods. The trick is knowing what to buy and when to buy it.
Recently I posted a guide to what produce is in season when. Buying produce that is in-season will dramatically decrease your grocery budget and allow you to purchase several healthy foods for under a dollar. While produce is one of the most affordable ways to eat healthy foods, it isn’t the only way! There are so many healthy foods for under a dollar on the market.
25 Healthy Foods for Under a Dollar a Serving
Black Beans – Black beans are loaded with fiber, calcium, and folic acid. If you buy the dry beans and boil them at home, you will preserve more of the antioxidants. Cooking black beans is very simple and you can easily make black bean soup. You can typically find black beans for 30 cents per pound.
Eggs – Eggs one of the most versatile healthy foods for under a dollar. You can use them in a variety of ways. Cooking up an egg for breakfast is simple and will provide you with the protein you need to get your day started. You can also make vegetable frittatas and store them in the fridge for a few days. Eggs will normally run you 19 cents per egg ($2 a dozen).
Almonds – Almonds are the perfect snack while you are out running errands or just sitting on the couch enjoying a movie. Almonds cost around 60 cents per serving of 20 – 25 almonds.
Garbanzo Beans – These beans are loaded with fiber and you can quickly add them to salads or make your own hummus. Garbanzo beans will typically cost you around 30 cents per 1/2 cup. You can purchase garbanzo beans in a can for around $1
Oats – Oats are very affordable, at $1 per pound in most cases. You can enjoy a bowl of homemade oatmeal and even use oats instead of flour when making cookies! (Here is how to make oat flour).
Pinto Beans – Refried beans are very easy to make and offer much more health benefits if you make your own. Pinto beans add fiber and protein to your diet and come in at a price of 25 cents per 1/2 cup.
Rice – Rice is a healthy and frugal staple. Especially if you avoid packaged rice and cook it from scratch. There are many different varieties and most varieties can be found for under a $1.00 a pound. You can use rice as the base for dinner, in soups, or as a side dish. Cook rice in bulk on the weekends to use in meals throughout the week. Here are several different methods of cooking rice.
Lentils – Lentils are similar in price to beans. You can buy them in the bulk bins for less than a dollar a pound. Unlike beans, lentils do not require soaking, so you can prepare them in about 30 minutes. They are great as a side dish or in soups.
Chicken Breasts – Chicken breasts are a little more expensive than the other healthy foods for under a dollar. However, if you want meat in your diet chicken breasts are an excellent choice. Chicken freezes for up to six months and you can cook a variety of recipes with chicken. A chicken will cost you about 75 cents per serving, but is still a much more affordable option than processed chicken strips! You can save even more by buying a whole chicken and then use the bones to make homemade chicken broth.
Yogurt – If you are looking to add both protein and calcium to yogurt is a great option. One cup of low-fat yogurt will cost you anywhere from 75 cents to $1. You can save even more on yogurt by making yogurt from scratch.
Whole Grain Pasta – You can cook a variety of dishes with pasta! You can make any number of inexpensive meals like this asparagus and pasta salad. Take your pasta dishes up a notch by using whole grain pasta. Whole grain pasta has a higher nutritional value over regular pasta and doesn’t cost much more. Depending on where you shop whole grain pasta can easily be found for about 98 cents a box!
Popcorn – If you have children in your house you know how much they love to snack. If you are trying to implement a healthier lifestyle, taking away the chips and cookies can be a huge change for kids. Popcorn is a great snacking option! The kids won’t feel like they are being punished and you will feel good giving them a healthy snack. You can find plain popcorn for about $1 per pound. Remember the key here is not serving popcorn that is loaded with salt and butter!
Grapes – Grapes are a fun and affordable snack for kids and adults. You can eat grapes fresh or freeze them for a summer treat. Grapes cost about 75 cents per cup. Grapes are also high in antioxidants.
Bananas – Bananas cost about 50 cents per pound and you can do a variety of things with bananas. You can eat them as a quick snack, add them to cereal, make banana bread, smoothies and much more!
Kiwi – A lot of people will automatically assume that Kiwi’s are very expensive. Kiwi’s can be but if get them on sale or while in-season they will run you about 35 cents per Kiwi. Kiwi’s have lots of vitamin C and fiber. You can use Kiwi’s in fruit salads, in smoothies or as a stand-alone fruit.
Watermelon – Watermelon is a popular summertime fruit and is loaded with antioxidants. You can eat watermelon fresh, make juice, popsicles and much more. Watermelon sales for about 25 cents per 1 cup. Watch your weekly store adds for prices even lower than this!
Oranges – Oranges will cost you about $1 per pound. Selecting an orange every morning over a glass of O.J. will give you the most vitamin C and antioxidants.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potatoes are about a $1 per pound and have a ton of vitamin A. You can make sweet potato french fries, sweet potato pie and much more! You can really get creative with sweet potatoes.
Kale – Have you ever tried kale chips? If not you are missing out, kale chips are a healthy alternative to traditional chips. Kale costs about 50 cents per cup. You can also add kale to your smoothies for extra vitamin A, C, and K.
Broccoli – You can add broccoli to just about any pasta dish, sever it as a side dish or just eat it alone. You can even make it part of the main course in this broccoli and quinoa salad. Broccoli can be picked up for about 50 cents per serving.
Beets – Beets are extremely affordable at about 90 cents per pound. You can roast beets, add them to a smoothie or use them in the main entrée like this bacon ranch chopped salad with root vegetables.
Spinach – Spinach is great in salads and in smoothies. Green smoothies are all the rage right now and spinach works perfectly! You can use spinach in just about anything, including these spinach and mushroom quesadillas. Spinach costs about 50 cents per cup.
Carrots – Carrots are perfect for snacking or adding to soups and salads, or for making glazed carrots. Carrots will run you between $1 and $2 per pound. You can also dip carrots in some fresh hummus!
Milk – We often complain about the rising cost of milk, but ounce for ounce it is still less than juice. A cup of milk costs less than 20 cents. Save money and eat a piece of fresh fruit to get your vitamins and drink milk with your breakfast instead of orange juice.
Water – Tap water is the most frugal beverage of all! Try to wean your family off flavored drinks and replace it with ice-water. It is better for your budget and your waistline.
By meal planning around these healthy foods for under a dollar, you can save big on your groceries!
Frugal and Healthy Recipes:
Beans, Rice, and Lentil Recipes
Frugal Meatless Meals for Economic Vegetarians
How to Cook Dried Beans: Directions for Stove Top, Slow Cooker, and Pressure Cooker
How to Cook Rice: Directions for Stove Top, Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Oven Methods
Ma Kettle says
You don’t have to use much meat for a simple meal. My husband likes to tell us about a roommate years ago who would slice a single chicken drumstick (not a whole leg) into slivers and stir-fry it with enough vegetables to feed three young men! Hubbie thought that was a bit stingy although he says they didn’t go hungry : )
When my children were young, I was making pork chops for supper and three of their school friends showed up. I was only cooking three pork chops (my husband worked away from home a lot) and planned on serving them with rice and a veggie. I cut the chops into little pieces, made gravy with the pan drippings and served it over the rice (I cooked a little extra) with the veggies on the side. We all had plenty.
Kristi, what an awesome list! Great share to have all in one place thank you!!!
Pauline Wiles says
I don’t know whether Trader Joes has stores everywhere, but they seem to have an everyday price of 19 cents per banana which is a fantastic deal.
And at this time of the year, I love to buy corn cobs, which seem to get super cheap, too.