Healthy foods at the end of your budget? You may think I am crazy for saying this, but trust me, I am not. Many of the foods I list below may already be lurking in your pantry or refrigerator. Foods like beans, lentils, and oats can often be purchased for less than $1.00 and can be used in great recipes.
We have all been there at one time or another. I will admit that my family and I have. My family knows that when I say we have to pull in the reins on our spending we will be eating beans and rice! Of course, we all love beans and rice, so I am lucky!
Making sure that you purchase these foods when they are on sale and you use coupons helps to lower the cost also. I try to always keep beans, lentils, oats and rice in my pantry at all times. That way, when the budget is tight, I know I can still fix a nutritious and tasty meal for my family.
Here is my list of healthy foods for the end of your budget:
Beans are high in fiber and protein, low in fat and sodium and have minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc, along with vitamins such as folic acid, thiamin, niacin and B6. Beans can be used for soups, chili, burritos or added to rice. Buy dry beans for more savings – it takes 3 or 4 cans of beans to equal 1 bag of dry beans.
Eggs are one of the most inexpensive proteins around. They can easily be used for quiche, frittata, deviled or fried. Add a couple scrambles eggs with rice and chopped vegetables for a meal.
Garbanzo beans are great to add to a salad, roast them with curry powder, or make your own hummus. They are full of protein and very inexpensive.
Lentils have more protein per pound than beef. They are rich in antioxidants. We use them for meatless casseroles, in soups and in burritos.
Oats is our favorite go to breakfast. I buy the largest container in the store and save. I make granola with it and we all love it. When cooked, you can add some brown sugar, fruit or a little jam for the perfect breakfast! Oatmeal makes great cookies too!
Yogurt is good for your body and tastes so great. Buy the large container and add your own fruit or jam. Use it as a substitute for sour cream. You can add it to many recipes too.
Low-fat milk is filled with calcium and helps with your teeth and bones. I always keep a box of dried milk around for emergencies. It costs less and I can make what I need and don’t worry about waste.
Cottage cheese is another food that is high in protein and low in cost. You can find it in a low fat variety.
Whole-grain pasta is a little more expensive than the white version, but it is much more healthy. Remember to buy on sale, it will keep in your pantry for a long time.
Brown rice is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The amount of fiber in brown rice slows your digestion and keeps you feeling full. Eat it with a few vegetables, in a soup or as a side dish.
Apples are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. You can easily pick up a large bag of apples for around $4.00. Use apples as a snack or dessert. When they are getting a little soft, add them to a smoothie.
Bananas are full of fiber and potassium. They are the perfect snack food or dessert.
Cantaloupe in season are relatively inexpensive. I recently purchased a 3 pound cantaloupe for less than $3.00. Chop it up and keep in the refrigerator during spring or summer for a treat. Chunks of cantaloupe can be frozen for a treat.
Watermelon in season cost about $5 per melon . Watermelon is another superfood. They are filled with antioxidants.
Canned tomatoes can be found on sale often and can be stored for a long time. They are a great food to stock pile. Use them for homemade sauces, chilies and sets.
Carrots are a great vegetable to have in the refrigerator. Use them as snacks or add to many recipes. We love to roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper.
Potatoes are a staple in my home. they can easily be used as a side, in casseroles, soups or with some beans as a twice baked potato. They are full of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
Green vegetables. Any leafy greens, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, have lots of nutrients per calorie and help protect against inflammation and disease. The best time to buy them are when they are in season. Buy salad greens in a large bag to save. If they are beginning to wilt a little, add them to a soup, a smoothie or freeze them for later.
I hope you don’t still think I am crazy for saying that you can eat healthy foods at the end of your budget. The foods listed above are inexpensive and easy to find at your local store. Of course planning meals at the beginning of the month will help you to stay on track too.
What are your favorite foods to purchase when you are at the end of your monthly budget? I would love to hear them.