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Best Healthy, Budget-Friendly Food Sources A Dietitian Consistently Has In Her Kitchen

Focus on healthy eating without breaking the bank by stockpilig these food varieties.

Welcome to Thrifty. Our weekly section featuring associate food editorial director and registered dietitian Jessica Ball offers genuine advice on how to shop smart on a tight budget, cook healthy dinners for two and make sustainable decisions without upgrading – all on an eco-friendly note!

After holidays and years come to a close, it can be exciting to look ahead and look towards fresh beginnings. Personally, I tend to shy away from spending excessive money on detox diets or trendy food plans; rather I focus on stockpiling natural products, vegetables and whole food varieties instead – these will always remain staples in my kitchen as a dietitian on a strict budget!

10 Healthy, Budget-Friendly Food Sources A Dietitian Consistently Has In Her Kitchen

These food varieties are an amazing go-to for healthy dinners and snacks. Not only are they affordable and nutritional, many can even be stored at room temperature! Here are my 10 staple varieties in my kitchen.

1. Canned Fish

I love canned fish of all sorts – from salmon and trout to sardines and anchovies. However, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for canned seafood – however it offers many health benefits, like protein and omega-3s – so should find its place in your pantry. Furthermore it costs considerably less than fresh fish: just $0.70 per ounce! To ease into canned seafood’s realm start slowly by trying Mediterranean Fish Spinach Salad or our Easy Zesty Salmon Cakes as starting points.

2. Oats

I adore oats, and use them in many creative ways beyond simply breakfast oats. Don’t misunderstand me; Apple-Cinnamon Quick Oats remain my go-to recipe in the kitchen; however, they serve many other functions too that make them an essential staple of mine. Use oats to boost fiber intake when creating Cereal Chocolate Chip Treats or create an exciting breakfast bowl by adding tomato and frankfurter; you could even crush some in a food processor then use them instead of breadcrumbs; plus making your own version can save both money and effort compared with purchasing boxed cereals!

3. Eggs


Eggs are one of the most cost-effective proteins available at supermarkets, making them an easy addition to your cart if you eat animal products. Packed with protein, vitamin B12 and choline – not to mention quickly cooked! – they make for a quick meal in minutes – try our Spinach Feta Rice Dish or Egg Drop Soup with Moment Noodles Spinach and Scallions as great examples beyond breakfast time! If time is of the essence for meal prep Shakshuka is an easy healthy way to whip together an Egg Scramble or Omlette when time pressured!

4. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter While peanut butter might not be appropriate for everyone in your household due to allergies or sensitivities, it can make an incredible addition to your kitchen stockpile. Smear it on toast, dip apple slices into it or incorporate into oatmeal as an additional protein source and healthy fat source – great additions in both sweet recipes like Peanut Butter Treats as well as savory recipes such as Thai Spaghetti Squash with Nut Sauce and Yam Nut Bisque for added protein and taste! At just $0.19 per serving it is one of the most budget-friendly food types around compared with alternatives such as Almond or Cashew Butter as well!

5. Diced Tomatoes

While I wish that using fresh tomatoes from my nursery were always possible, that wouldn’t be practical. As an alternative, I keep several no-salt-included diced tomatoes on hand for when I need an easy vegetable addition to dinner – like One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta and Pasta Puttanesca with Hamburger for example – although these versatile veggies also work beautifully when adding them into Center Easter Chicken Chickpea Stew or American Goulash dishes as well. Shakshuka remains high on my list of quick dinner ideas!

6. Beans

Beansoccupy an esteemed spot on my list of preferred food sources, and there’s good reason why. They come in various shapes, sizes and flavors but all provide plenty of nutrients – fiber, protein, potassium, calcium and folate are just some of them – with some experts even crediting beans with helping prolong life span. Use beans in Tuscan White Bean Soup or replace meat with them when creating Cooked Vegetable and Dark Bean Tacos; vegetable versatility means endless culinary creations can come out of them from curry to smoothies!

7. Onions And Garlic

Many different forms of cooking depend on onions and garlic for an unforgettable taste, which has only increased with recent trends. Not only is their aroma tantalizing to any recipe but their alliums contain beneficial sulfide intensifies which may lower risk of some forms of cancer – which makes food plans such as Simple Eggplant Pan Fried Food or One-Pot Lemon-Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan much simpler!

8. Potatoes


We’re discussing both sweet and white potatoes here, people. Both varieties possess unmistakable, delicious flavors while offering incredible health benefits – white potatoes contain fiber, B6 and potassium while yams boast fiber calcium potassium nutrient C and A content. You can pick up one pound from any store for between $0.78-0.81 individually – perfect if budgeting. Also delicious in Softened Potatoes or Yam Carbonara with Kale!

9. Frozen Berries

Berries are delectable and nutritious treats, yet can be expensive when purchased fresh. With a short shelf life of only 2-3 months before they turn sour or are wasted away altogether, frozen berries offer an affordable solution that lasts in your refrigerator up to 10 months; perfect for smoothies, shoemakers and jam.

10. Rice

Rice is one of the most adaptable food varieties. I can enjoy it for breakfast (try our Firm Rice Bowls with Seared Eggs!), lunch, or dinner! Rice may not be your go-to food when it comes to nutrition, but it pairs perfectly with vegetables and proteins for an easy, economical meal that still delivers on health. Rice also tends to be less costly than its more well-known competitors like quinoa or amaranth. Brown or wild rice will give your diet an additional boost of fiber, protein and potassium. Both types can last in your pantry up to six months at once – perfect as side dishes when there is nothing else available! Try recipes like Turkey and Brown Rice Stew, Simple Brown Rice Pilaf with Spring Vegetables and One-Pot Lentils and Rice with Spinach that will turn you into a rice enthusiast!

Primary concern

This year, you may be striving to return to healthy eating after an indulgent holiday season. There are ways you can do that without breaking the bank – here are a few budget-friendly food varieties I like keeping around for easy healthy meal and snack planning!

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