Today we are going to get a little more specific with this cheap healthy grocery list.
Maybe it’s the end of the month, maybe money is especially tight right now.
Whatever it is, you are wondering what to put on a cheap healthy grocery list.
Not only what frugal/cheap foods to buy, but what are the healthiest cheap foods you can buy. What are your options.
First, I want to tell you don’t worry and stress. Just do the best you can. Hang in there. Being anxious, as easy as it is to do, (talking to myself here too) does no good.
Cheap Healthy Grocery List
The first two that come to mind are the stereotypical budget foods – but don’t let them scare you off.
Beans. Specifically dry beans. They are super easy to cook and you can season them in a variety of ways and use them to stretch meat or replace it all together. Buying them dry will cost you at least a third of buying a can.
Rice. You can buy a pound of brown rice at Dollar Tree for $1. One of our local grocery stores sells a pound bag for $.50! If you don’t like brown rice, you can find white rice even cheaper.
Lentils. Another affordable legume right here. People use these for all kinds of things. A lentil and rice casserole. Meat replacement in things like sloppy joes. Or one of our go tos is a quick lentil soup.
Rolled Oats. Buy the big container, none of the instant oatmeal packets. You can always make your own oatmeal packets. Breakfast really can’t get much cheaper than this. A jar of cinnamon is only $1 and will season a lot of bowls of oatmeal.
Eggs. This is really an inexpensive source of protein. Have them hard boiled for a snack, as part of a meal, or in a salad. Scrambled eggs make a great brinner. Can also use to make cheap things such as pancakes or french toast.
Bag of flour. Grab a bag of whole wheat (or unbleached white) flour. Use it to make a loaf of bread or a batch of pancakes (for dinner or breakfast).
Pasta. Cheap and easy. Make a batch of meatless spaghetti sauce (or replace the meat with some lentils) and supper will cost next to nothing. I always make a big batch so we can have leftovers another meal or two. (<– Another money saving tip right there!)
Milk. Not to drink. I’m a huge proponent of water. Instead use it to make the pancakes, baked oatmeal etc. Dairy free, sub almond milk.
Potatoes. Especially in the fall and winter months when they will often go on sale for $2-$3 for a 10 pound bag. I prefer sweet potatoes and you can also find them cheaper in the fall and winter months. There’s nothing wrong with a baked potato supper. Plan on leftovers and have fried potatoes with the eggs for supper the next night. Make a potato soup with some of the milk.
Carrots. Not the baby ones when you are pinching pennies. Whole carrots are typically super inexpensive. I get them for $1 for a 2 pound bag. Serve them raw as a side for lunch or supper (or try roasting). Add them to soups or a stir fry.
Celery. In my part of the country a bunch of celery is $1. Use in the same way you would the carrots. Carrots and celery also make great snacks.
Frozen Veggies. Frozen green beans and corn are both $1 at Aldi. Use in soup, fried rice or as a side dish.
Apples. In the fall and winter months these are often times under $.70 a pound. Add to oatmeal or slice and serve with lunch or for a snack. Of course apple cake is a fun splurge too. 🙂
Peanut Butter. Takes you back to your childhood, I know, but it’s really hard to get cheaper than peanut butter sandwiches. My kids dislike jelly, but of course you can add some fruit to your peanut butter sandwich. Kroger brand peanut butter has the best price on peanut and salt peanut butter – especially if you get it on sale.
Bread. Make bread using flour for pennies a loaf. Also, watch for your local dollar store to get in a shipment of Nature’s Way bread. You can also find bread marked down at Aldi and other grocery stores.
Cabbage. Right now a head of cabbage is just over a dollar and it will be cheaper in fall and winter months. Shave it for a salad or add to soups and stir fries. I also love sauteing it and having with eggs.
Chicken. If you are going to buy meat, chicken will likely be your cheapest bet. Use it as an ingredient – not the star of the meal. Be sure to ration it out and stretch it with beans, lentils, or veggies when you can. If you buy bone in chicken, use the bones to make stock and stretch your dollar even further.
In Season Produce. This is key to getting fresh produce in on the cheap foods to buy when you are broke list. Only buy what is on sale for a great price.
Popcorn kernels. Buy the kernels and pop it yourself for a healthy and frugal snack or even turn it into a snack supper.
Bananas. Bananas are pretty much always under $.50 a pound and will frequently go on sale cheaper than that.
Canned Tomato Products. Canned tomatoes are cheap. Make your own pizza sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them already made. I know canned tomatoes are controversial in the “healthy foods” world. But you do what you have to do. Another option would be to stock up on tomatoes when you can get them dirt cheap and can or freeze them to avoid the cans.
Lettuce. I can get a head of romaine or leaf lettuce for between $1 and $1.30 at my grocery stores. A bean based taco salad would make a great meal or simply have salad for your lunch or a side dish.
I hope this gives you a starting point next time you are trying to make a cheap healthy grocery list.
What other healthy(ish) cheap foods am I missing from the list? What’s the cheapest, healthy meal that you make?