When you’re on a budget and shopping for one, it can feel nearly impossible to stock up on healthy foods. Fear not: We did the work for you. Check out our list of 44 tasty and healthy foods that’ll cost you less than a buck per serving.
Note: Prices under $1 are based on units per serving and are followed by national average retail price. Pricing is approximate and will vary by brand and location.
1. Pinto beans
Price: $0.30 per 1/2 cup, $3 per can
If you’re a big fan of ordering refried beans at restaurants, you’ll be glad to hear that they’re a snap to make at home: Just mash pinto beans with garlic and spices on the stove.
Price: $0.19 per egg, $3.50 per dozen
When in need of some protein, eggs are a quick fix. Scramble with veggies, add to a crepe, or make a frittata. When in doubt, put an egg on it.
Price: $0.60 per ounce (20 to 25 nuts), $5 per 8-ounce bag
Grab a small handful of almonds during the day or add to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for an extra-filling kick of protein and crunch.
Rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, these super nuts could reduce the risk of diabetes and aid in weight loss.
Price: $0.50 per ounce (25 to 30 nuts), $4 per 8-ounce bag
Though some peanut butters are packed with sugar, in their natural form, these legumes can be healthy treat. They’re great in trail mixes.
When eaten in moderation, peanuts supply a dose of healthy fats and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Chicken breasts
Price: $0.75 for 4-ounces, $2.99 per pound
Forgo fast-food nuggets: A small, fresh chicken breast is cheaper and filled with healthy, lean protein. Make your own gyro with tzatziki or try any of these other non-boring chicken ideas.
6. Black beans
Price: $0.30 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per can
These unassuming beans pack a ton of fiber, as well as calcium, potassium, and folic acid.
Pro tip: Buy dry beans for an even better deal. Boiling them at home may preserve more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Cook up some black bean soup or make a healthy black-bean taco.
Price: $0.12 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per pound (dry, in bulk)
These mild legumes add richness to curries and soups, plus act as a great meat replacement for Bolognese sauce or burgers.
Bonus points: Lentils have more protein per pound than beef and are rich with antioxidants, so it might be worth it to trade in that cheeseburger once in a while.
8. Garbanzo beans
Price: $0.30 per 1/2 cup, $3 per can
These little beans (also known as chickpeas) pack a serious amount of fiber. Roast them with olive oil and your favorite spices (think: cumin, paprika, or curry powder) to use as a crouton replacement or blend into DIY hummus.
Price: $0.20 per ounce, $3 per pound
High in protein and low in fat, tofu is a delicious staple for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Panfry tofu (or tempeh) with veggies in your next stir-fry, scramble extra-firm tofu like eggs, and try the silken variety in a fruit smoothie.
10. Pumpkin seeds
Price: $0.50 per ounce, $6 per pound
Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) go well in a salad, sprinkled on soup, or can be roasted with spices for a crunchy snack. Seeing as they’re filled with essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein and iron, you really can’t go wrong.
Price: $1 per pound (in bulk)
Oats are high in fiber, low in fat, and, like many whole grains, may even help lower cholesterol.
12. Canned salmon
Price: $0.20 per ounce, $2.50 per 14.75-ounce can
No need to splurge on a salmon fillet to enjoy this seafood packed with omega-3.
Grab the canned version for some protein power — without having to dish out big bucks. Then try whipping up a batch of homemade salmon burgers.
13. Canned tuna
Price: $0.30 per ounce, $1.50 per 5-ounce can
Not only is tuna cheap, but it’s another easy way to get omega-3s. Try mixing with hummus or Greek yogurt for a healthier tuna salad, or any of these tuna recipes.
14. Whey protein
Price: $0.75 per scoop, $40 per 3-pound container
Need an extra dose of protein? Add whey protein to a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal, or sneak it into your next batch of brownies.
Price: $1 per 6-ounce cup
Pick up a breakfast treat that’s versatile and filled with protein and calcium. Just beware of flavors loaded with extra sugar. Greek yogurt is also awesome — and full of protein and probiotics — but it can be more expensive than our $1 limit.
16. Cottage cheese
Price: $1 per 1/2 cup, $5.50 per 16-ounce container
This soft, mild cheese is surprisingly high in protein and tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. Try it topped with sliced pineapple and berries or make it savory in a creamy pasta sauce.
Price: $0.25 per cup, $4 per gallon
Add a splash of milk to a fruit smoothie or enjoy it as a classic: over a bowl of cereal. One calcium-filled glass can help keep teeth strong and even stave off excess pounds.
Here are some tips for using and storing this pantry staple.
18. Brown rice
Price: $0.18 per 1/4 cup, $2 per pound
Use instead of white rice in any recipe (note that cooking times differ) for a more exciting flavor and texture. This whole-grain version of rice is full of fiber and may lower the risk of diabetes.
19. Whole-wheat pasta
Price: $0.37 per 1/2 cup, $3 per box
Enjoy whole-wheat pasta’s nutty flavor paired with sautéed veggies and a fresh tomato sauce. Not only is the whole-wheat version of pasta more complex in taste, it’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, and protein, and it may even help lower the risk of heart disease.
Price: $0.30 per 1/2 cup, $1 per pound for kernels
Popcorn is a low calorie snack that’s also a good source of fiber. Pop kernels on the stove or in a paper bag in the microwave, and then top with your fave spices, like taco seasoning or cinnamon.
Price: $0.60 per 1/4 cup, $5 per 12-ounce box
Rich in protein and fiber, quinoa is a great addition to sweet granola bowls and veggie-filled salads or serve as a side instead of pasta.
Price: $0.75 per cup, $1.50 per pound
Add sliced grapes to salads instead of sugar-filled dried fruit or freeze them for a refreshing summer snack. It’ll be well worth it: These tiny fruits are high in antioxidants that may help reduce cholesterol.
Try this 7-day menu of grape recipes.
Price: $0.50 per banana, $2 per bunch
Filled with fiber and potassium, these 100-calorie snacks are any easy grab-and-go treat. Enjoy sliced with your favorite nut butter or blend frozen bananas into creamy single-ingredient ice cream.
Price: $0.40 per kiwi
Did you know kiwis are actually berries? Start snacking because they’re packed with vitamin C and fiber. Add a kiwi to your next fruit salad or granola bowl, or enjoy straight up with a spoon.
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $3 per small melon
Cantaloupe makes a perfect spring or summer treat. The antioxidant-packed fruit pairs well with yogurt, can be frozen as a DIY popsicle, or juiced.
Price: $0.75 per apple
An apple a day, right? Apples have plenty of antioxidants and are an easy staple to keep around the house. Eat them plain, smear with a nut butter, bake ’em hot, or pair with a few cubes of cheese for a protein- and carb-rich snack — perfect post-workout.
Price: $0.85 each, $1.75 per pound
Pears are high in fiber and antioxidants and come in varieties like Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou. They’re a perfect match for fall-themed recipes.
Price: $0.50 each, $1 per pound
Oranges might get talked about for their vitamin C content, but they’re also strong in fiber, folate, and potassium. If you’d rather go with the juice, skip the carton and squeeze your own to make sure you’re not downing any unnecessary sugar.
Price: $0.30 per bulb
Add minced garlic to any pan of sautéed vegetables or roast whole in the oven for a sweeter flavor, and then blend into salad dressings and dips. In addition to its vitamins and minerals, garlic may help reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.
31. Canned pumpkin
Price: $0.75 per 1/2 cup, about $2.50 per 15-ounce can
Pumpkin’s orange color comes from carotenoids, a plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties.
32. Canned tomatoes
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $1.80 per 14.8-ounce can
Tomatoes retain exceptional amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, which can be beneficial for vascular health.
Canned tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces and stews, but be on the lookout for cans with no added sodium or sugar.
Price: $0.18 each, $0.59 per pound
Use along with garlic as an aromatic base for stir-fries, stews, and sauces; or sauté until golden and sweet, then add to salads, pastas, or sandwiches. Onions pack a surprisingly nutritious punch, including a hefty dose of antioxidants.
Here’s how to cut one without crying.
Price: $0.50 each, $2 per pound
Raw carrot sticks are perfect for dipping into hummus or nut butters (don’t knock it ’til you try it!) and taste great roasted with other root veggies and a drizzle of olive oil. That nutritious crunch comes with tons of beta-carotene, useful for healthy skin and immune systems.
35. Winter squash
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per pound
Squash is a versatile veggie filled with vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Roast a squash and fill it with whole grains, like brown rice or quinoa and veggies. Top with Greek yogurt or part-skim ricotta for a hearty vegetarian dinner — no bowls needed. Or try roasting it as a base for vegetarian tacos.
Price: $0.50 per cup (raw, chopped), $2 per bunch
Kale is an antioxidant king among fruits and veggies and contains vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium. Bonus: kale chips. Need we say more?
Price: $0.35 each, $1 per pound
These naturally sweet magenta gems are filled with betalains, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properites.
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $2 per bunch
Broccoli has high levels of folate and vitamin C, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Price: $0.50 per cup, $2 per bunch
Replace lettuce with spinach in salads for added nutritional benefits or add a few handfuls into your morning smoothie. These mild-tasting greens are nutrient-dense with vitamins A, K, and calcium.
Here are some ways to use up that bag you probably have in the fridge.
40. Sweet potatoes
Price: $0.50 each, $1 per pound
Try this healthy alternative in place of a bread slice the next time you’re whipping up an avocado toast recipe. Sweet potatoes have high levels of vitamin A and calcium, plus they’re lower in carbohydrates than their white counterparts (just in case you’re counting).
Studies also show the root veggie has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties.
Price: $0.50 per 1/2 cup, $3 per 10-ounce frozen package
Skip the chips and enjoy edamame steamed with a touch of salt. These bite-size legumes are filled with fiber and protein, which make for a great afternoon snack. Toss them into salads, too, for some added texture.
Price: $0.40 per 16-ounce cup brewed at home, $10 per pound
Not only is it good for you, but brewing coffee at home can save some serious cash. This morning pick-me-up also contains antioxidants that help protect your heart.
A small amount can be a great pre-workout choice to help increase endurance (just make sure you limit yourself to about a half cup).
Price: $0.10 per tea bag, $5 per box
There are plenty of health benefits linked to tea, ranging from lowering risks of depression and strokes to reducing chances of getting certain liver diseases. It may even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Skip the sugary stuff and brew iced tea at home, and opt for the green or white tea varieties if you’re looking to maximize antioxidant intake. Check out this guide for making the perfect cup.
Price: Free (… kind of). Head to the nearest faucet: Our bodies depend on it. Water keeps us hydrated, flushes out toxins, and helps keep you full between meals. It’s also a lifesaver for skin health.
Still need more proof? Check out one of these science-backed reasons water is awesome.
When it comes to healthy snacking, there’s no reason to overspend. Stocking up on healthy, whole food favorites will keep you full and your wallet unharmed.