10 More Healthy Foods Under $3

by in Uncategorized, September 8, 2011
oatmeal
Rolled oats will cost you just 20 cents per 1/2 cup portion.

Our original top 10 list was so popular, Healthy Eats readers asked for more. Here are 10 more healthy foods that won’t break the bank.

#1: Carrots
Cost:
$0.89 per 1 pound bag (about 9 carrots)
Even my kids tout the benefits of carrots, “They give you healthy eyes, mom” they always tell me. But beta-carotene has more benefits than meets the eyes. It also helps promote healthy bones, skin and hair. Make carrot soup, add to a stir-fry, or slice into strips for an easy kids snack.

#2: Low fat cottage cheese
Cost:
$2.75 per 16-ounce container
This perfect combo of protein, carbs and fat will help keep you satisfied. It’ll also give you a boost of calcium with 10% of your daily recommended dosage in every ½ cup serving. If you’ve been passing this underappreciated food in your dairy aisle, check out more reasons why we love it.

#3: Canned Tuna
Cost:
$1.00 per 5 -ounce can
Buying in bulk or on sale will save even more on this popular protein. If you’re a tuna salad lover, don’t make the common mistake of drowning it in artery clogging fat! Instead, try our tips to lighten it up. Not sure which type of tuna is healthiest? Read up on how to choose the right canned variety.

#4: Apples
Cost:
$0.79 each
This easy-to-tote snack is one of the most budget-friendly fruits around. But there’s so much more to do with these babies— give any of these 31 healthy apple recipes a try.

#5: Natural Peanut Butter
Cost:
2.48 per 15-ounce jar
Portion control is key with peanut butter. Use the recommended 2 tablespoon serving and you’ll get 13 servings out of each 15-ounce jar. That’s 17 cents per portion. For snacks, 1 tablespoon is recommended– so you’ll get 26 servings (or 8.5 cents per portion). Talk about hitting the budget-friendly jackpot! There are so many ways to love it—here are our top 10.  You can also check out how your favorite brand stacked up in our peanut butter taste test.

#6: Rolled Oats
Cost:
2.66 per 18-ounce container
An 18-ounce container gives you 13 1/2-cup portions– that’s 20 cents per portion! Oats are brimming with energy-boosting B-vitamins like riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. They’re also high in soluble fiber, which have been shown to help lower cholesterol (just like you see on the commercials). But if you think oats are just for breakfast, think again! Check out these scrumptious, healthy oatmeal cookie recipes.

#7: Edamame
Cost:
2.49 per 16 ounce bag (in pod)
Munch on baby soy beans (a.k.a. edamame) instead of chips or other salty snacks. Each ½ cup serving contains 100 calories, 8 grams protein, 3 grams fat, and 9 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron. Each 16 ounce bag has 3 servings—that’s $0.83 per portion.

#8: Frozen Broccoli
Cost:
$1.36 per 16 ounce package
When you can’t get your hands on fresh broccoli, frozen is the perfect alternative. Frozen varieties are good money savers since you can use small portions at a time, which makes them last longer. Cook frozen broccoli as a quick weekday side or add to a stir-fry, stew or pasta dish.

#9: Pearled Barley
Cost:
$1.03 per 16-ounce bag
This nutty tasting whole grain is loaded with fiber, iron, selenium, and energy-boosting B-vitamins. Use in soup, sprinkle  cooked pearled barley on top of a salad, or use in place of Arborio rice in a risotto.

#10: Canned Lentils
Cost:
1.63 per 15-ounce can
This legume is packed with hunger-satisfying protein and soluble fiber (the kind that helps lower cholesterol). Cook up a lentil soup, toss in a stew, mix with rice, or bake up a batch of Alton’s Lentil Cookies.

TELL US: Which budget-friendly foods do you buy?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (160)

  1. susie shop smart says:

    Those prices look very high to me – but I ONLY buy items when they are on sale AND I have a coupon or when I can find a broken package, torn label, bent can, etc – so I can get the item REALLY cheap. I shop on the last day of the sale week, late in the day, and buy all that is left of the sale items. Then I go to customer service and get a raincheck, so I can get the sale price when the items are NOT on sale. For some reason edamame is never on sale, and apples are WAY out of my price range. The other advantage of shopping late is that sometimes you find items at the end of their shelf life, and because the store will have to throw them out in a few hours, the manager can mark it WAY WAY down. I wind up paying about 30% of the retail food prices – and even that is a real serious burden for me!

  2. Jacksgirl1209 says:

    What about dried beans? White beans (navy beans) are a healthy, budget friendly food. I soak them over night and cook them the next day for about an hour or so.
    In New Orleans, it's a tradition to have red beans and rice on Monday. Same cooking method as for the navy beans. The most important thing in cooking dried beans is to soak them overnight so they plump up.

  3. Ellen says:

    Susie smart shop, please be wary of dented cans. Not a good buy if you get food poisoning. That's a real possibility.

    • Colleen says:

      Unfortunately to some people "cheap" is everything. They're so blinded by price tags they can't see anything else. She's not as smart as she likes to think she is.

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