Healthy food often gets the reputation of being expensive and out of reach. When you waltz into Whole Foods and see cash registers flashing $300 totals, and they’re walking away with only two brown bags of groceries, it can feel like it’s an impossibility to feed your whole family healthy foods reasonably. So, how do you eat healthfully without a second mortgage for a grocery budget?
You might be surprised to know that there are many affordable, healthy food options out there that are ideal for stocking your kitchen at all times to help you make healthy meals at home. While prices will fluctuate depending on where you live, you’ll find these items for a few dollars, give or take, so there are no more excuses for not keeping healthy foods in your home.
Brown Rice. A versatile and healthy side, brown rice gives you those necessary whole grains you need for more daily fibers. Replace white rice and processed carbs with it to round out your meals. You can even buy it on the bulk aisle and store it in an air-tight container to get more bang for your buck. Also think of other whole grains such as wild rice, barley, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, quinoa…
Legumes. The legume family includes beans, lentils, peas and…peanuts. Legumes are rich in healthy fibers, minerals and B vitamins and among the best plant-based sources of protein. One cup of cooked beans or lentils provides 15 grams of protein (it is more than two eggs!). Buy legumes dry or canned to enjoy their many health benefits.
Old-Fashioned Oats. Buy the store brand and save a ton on this healthy and filling breakfast staple. Take what you saved and splurge on organic, fresh berries to top your oatmeal breakfast with.
Frozen Veggies. Frozen veggies lock in the nutrients and are frozen at the peak of freshness, which means they can be as nutritious as fresh veggies. These are great for throwing together a quick side, making stews or soups, or even casseroles. They often go on sale, too, so stock up during that next sale.
Fresh Bagged Leafy Greens. With all the outbreaks of E. coli surrounding Romaine lettuce, choosing bagged up leafy greens like spinach or kale is a better solution. Plus, they’re inexpensive and very healthy. You can make them into salads, use them as a side, blend them into smoothies, cook them with eggs, and so much more.
Fruits That Last. Some fruits last longer than others and are quite inexpensive to boot. While a small container of fresh, organic blueberries could run you $8 and last you a day or two — a 5lb bag of navel oranges can cost you $5 and last all week. Apples, oranges, pears, pineapple, and melons are all great options for these inexpensive, long-lasting fruits to keep around your kitchen.
If you keep these things around, when life throws you a curveball, you’ll still be able to eat nutritiously and deliciously!