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By Samantha Burnett

Healthy food choices under $5.00

Would you eat healthier if you could afford it? Many of us are brought to believe healthy eating can break the bank. Here are some options that demystify the cost of healthy eating. You may find yourself feeling better and saving money!

Eggs. Not only are they high in protein, you can purchase one dozen, free range and organic for under $5.00! Eggs are the most versatile food, providing a great on-the-go snack, (hard boiled), breakfast, lunch (egg salad sandwich) or dinner, (think Pho soup with a soft boiled egg).

Fruit. If you are looking for a sweet option, fruit is your go-to food. You can pick up a week’s worth of bananas, apples, pears, or oranges for under $5.00. You an also find a variety of melons for under $5.00. Bring it home, cut it up in bit size pieces, store in a container and snack away. It’s also a great option with yogurt or cottage cheese for a protein-charged snack.

Seafood. You can absolutely find options under $5.00 for seafood. One strong contender is canned tuna or salmon. The canned option is perfect for busy lifestyles and always great to have on hand. Whether eating it plain, or accompanying it with a salad, you will find this a great “fast” food.

Greek yogurt. How many times can you find your probiotic, vitamin D and a huge source of protein under $1 for each serving? For $5.00, you can get your week’s supply of breakfast and snack food. Greek yogurt is also a tasty base for veggie and fruit dips and for dinners such as curry!

Vegetables. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, kale…the list is endless! Use some for snacks, or slice them up for a delicious stir fry. Another great use-take the ends of the celery, carrots to add to a delicious vegetable broth. No need to waste the scraps!

Beans. The uses of this effective food item are endless. Buy a can of garbanzo beans, puree with olive oil and spices and you have hummus! Black beans mixed with rice are another option for under $1.50. Beans are a delicious option to add to soups for additional protein and a meatless option.

Nuts. Now, I know many of you are thinking nuts are way too expensive. My answer: buy in bulk! You can find one pound of cashews, honey roasted peanuts, almonds and other scrumptious varieties in your local grocery store under $5.00. And, one pound of nuts can go a long way. Sprinkle them in salads or coat your favorite fish or white meat with them.

Rice. Rice is a great mix for lunches or dinners. The best thing to remember is be creative with your food options!

To start your shopping, lean towards sale prices. You will find some options are buy one get one free; many of these options can be frozen for later, so you can stretch your dollar even further! Also, look for vegetables and fruits and lean to buy more in season produce. You will find these are much more affordable. And, it’s worth repeating – buy in bulk. Most grocery stores will have bulk food sections. You will save a tremendous amount buying in this format. Also, think of the space you will save without all of those bulky containers from the packaged variety.

When you get home, you will want to slice up the veggie and fruits and place them in storable containers in the fridge. For the nuts, place them in small containers or small baggies. Take half of the dozen of eggs and boil them, then store in the fridge for later. Make the hummus from the garbanzo beans you bought while the eggs are boiling. Having the hummus on hand will be a fantastic dip for those cut up veggies later. All of these will provide a great convenience for you and provide a, “grab and go” option for you.

Many of these options can be interchanged, creating new flavors and fresh meal ideas. So remember: stay creative with mixing food options and above all enjoy the journey of affordable healthy eating. After making a few simple changes in your grocery shopping, your body and bank account will thank you!

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