Looking for the healthiest, easy-to-make, inexpensive foods to find at your local store? Here are some highlights from The Food Project, an independent study I worked on during my last semester undergrad at Tufts University. I will feature recipes using many of the ingredients below throughout the summer. These are great picks for college students, busy parents, or anyone who wants to eat a healthy diet without paying more. The focus is on real food. You may get a bigger bag of “Food Snacks” for the same price as a bag of frozen veggies, but if you really look at the ingredients in the “food snacks” what exactly are you paying for? Most of the time it isn’t really food. Save your cash by not wasting it on lots of processed fillers, additives, and preservatives so you can spend more on the food that will actually do something for you (and taste great!).
Splurges for Busy Budget Shoppers
My favorite “splurge” item if your busy is a nice bottle of salsa. Not only are most salsas low in sodium and low or fat-free, they are packed with flavor and wonderful natural ingredients that give you a great nutritional boost. If you have the time and knowledge of how to make salsa from scratch go for it, but if not, this is one item that great to buy pre-made in a jar. Another worth while splurge: Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice or (Fruit/Veggie Fusion Juice). If you are struggling to get in the rest of your daily vitamin needs and extra veggie servings a little bit of low-sodium veggie juice can go a long way. V8 also makes some good tasting fruit/veggie fusion juices. Look for varieties that do not contain corn syrup or added sugar.Walnuts & almonds: Although nuts tend to be expensive, numerous studies tell us that these are an extremely healthy part of a balanced diet in small servings when eaten regularly. Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids and almonds are rich in vitamin E. Both of these nuts provide the body with heart-healthy fats and protein as well as vitamins and minerals.
Click “more” or click HERE to see the healthy budget foods grocery list you are on the main blog page or can’t see the list below!
Keep in the Pantry
- Nonfat Powdered Milk (put in plastic bag if box is open)
- Dried Beans
- Brown Rice
- Whole Oats (for oatmeal)
- Bran Flakes Cereal
- Sunflower Seeds (low sodium)
- Whole-Wheat Pasta
- Tomato Sauce: Refrigerate after opening.
- Salsa– refrigerate after opening
- Tuna (chunk light)- refrigerate after opening
- Canned Salmon (pink) refrigerate after opening
- Canola Oil (for cooking)
- Olive Oil (for salads, pasta, and other flavorful dishes)
- Canned Soup: Choose “Low Sodium” or “No salt added.” Use half can at a time and store the rest in the fridge in re-usable container.
- Apple Sauce: Refrigerate after opening
- Chopped walnuts: 8 oz bag
- 100% Whole Wheat Bread: Put half the loaf in the freezer to use for the second half of the month.
- Peanut Butter: Check label- may need to refrigerate after opening. Do not buy the kind that contains “hydrogenated oils.” Check ingredients.
- Apple Juice with Calcium and Vit C: refrigerate after opening
- Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice: refrigerate after opening
Put in the Fridge
- Wheat Germ: 1 12oz bottle Kretschmer Wheat Germ Original Toasted
- Plain Non-fat Yogurt: 2 large (32oz) tubs
- Eggs: 1 dozen (cheapest available)
- 1lb Chicken Breast (for stir-fry)
- Shredded Mozzarella: 1 bag
- Whole-wheat pizza dough: 1 package (8 servings)
- All fresh veggies (lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, kale, etc)
- 7 bananas (if you more than you can eat in a week, keep about half of them in the fridge so they won’t all become too ripe at once)
- A few apples (most don’t need to go into the fridge right away)
Put in the Freezer
- Ground Turkey: 1lb/ 16oz (Important! Separate into 4 separate 4oz portions and wrap separately before you put this in the freezer. Do the same thing with the ground beef when you get this on your second shopping trip of the month.)
- Frozen fish (or fresh if $4.99/lb or less. Look for cod, salmon)
- Frozen fruit
- Stop & Shop large bag of mixed berries ($7)
- Other stores: as much as you can get for about $7
- Frozen Vegetables
- Frozen Edamame (1 bag)
- Frozen Mixed Veggies (1 bag)
- Frozen Peas (1 bag)
- Frozen Broccoli (1 bag)
- Frozen bell pepper slices (1 bag)
- Onions: 1 bag frozen, chopped