As I have previously mentioned, I experienced being on Food Stamps (SNAP) for 1 week for a project in my Community Nutrition class this past semester. To see my full one week food stamps experience, check out my post here. As a follow up to this experience, I wanted to be more mindful of budget-friendly food options and incorporate ‘Budget-Friendly Recipes’ into my blog. I have since created a tab of budget recipes on my page.
I also wanted to share a book that I recently learned about: Good and Cheap by Leanna Brown. This book is written with those on the SNAP program or a strict food budget in mind and demonstrates how to eat well on $4/day. You can read more about the author and download her free PDF of these affordable recipes here.
This post will discuss healthy grocery options that are also budget-friendly. During my food stamps experience, I learned that buying fresh produce on a budget is really hard! This post will share which fresh produce and other healthy, whole foods that I found to be the more affordable options.
Before diving into this post, I want to first acknowledge that affordable healthy foods are only one piece of the puzzle. Food accessibility is key a barrier, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Where there are food desserts and neighborhoods that lack access to fresh foods or even grocery stores, getting healthful food options is a challenge. These issues are complex and there is much more work to be done to address these barriers to eating healthy.
See below list of healthy groceries that I have found to be the healthiest bang for your buck.
Bananas are by far the cheapest fruit. I can buy 8 bananas for under $2. What I love about bananas is that they are so versatile! You can throw them in an oatmeal bowl, freeze them and throw them into a smoothie, or let them ripen and use them to make banana bread. They also make a great snack by themselves or with peanut butter.
A large package of carrots for about $2 at many grocery stores. Carrots are great to eat raw as a snack or you can roast them in oil and top with spices.
I personally love sweet potatoes but both regular and sweet potatoes are more affordable veggies, especially when bought in bulk. Potatoes are great for breakfast, as a side dish to a main meal, or as a snack. You can roast them with onions and eat them with eggs. You can roast them or make baked potatoes and eat them as a side dish to a main meal. Or you can heat them and top with peanut butter as a snack.
I love oatmeal! It makes such an easy and delicious breakfast. You can eat oatmeal hot or let the oats soak overnight in milk to make overnight oats.
Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, etc are great options to have on hand. In comparison to white grains, whole grains are less processed and contain more fiber, which has several health benefits. They are affordable, nonperishable, and make a great addition to any meal.
Unlike other nut butters, peanut butter tends to be a more affordable option. Be sure to opt for an all natural peanut butter without added oils or sugars as many peanut butter brands process their peanut butter with cane sugar and palm oil. Peanut butter makes a great addition to oatmeal bowls and is great to spread over whole wheat bread with a banana. It is a source of healthy fat which contributes to satiety.
Beans are a great source of protein. Bags of dried beans are great as they are nonperishable and give you a lot of beans (they expand as you soak and boil them!) They are great to eat with rice, veggies, or to eat with a potato.
Eggs, although perishable, tend to stay good for several weeks in the fridge (be sure to check the expiration date for guidance). They are a great source of protein and healthy fat. Pasture raised are the best type of eggs to purchase if you can, however, they tend to be more expensive. Eggs are a great addition to any meal or can be eaten hard boiled as a snack.