Cheap, Green ‘n Lean: 12 Tasty, Healthy Foods for Under $1


Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m shocked to see how much the prices keep climbing. In a moment of penny-pinching madness, it’s tempting to live off 65-cent frozen burritos. That is, until you look at the nutrition information. So, I’ve done some research to find the healthiest foods that even the strictest recessionista budgets can afford – if you’ve got a dollar, you can get at least one serving (and often several) of the following foods.



Rich in calcium, this nourishing breakfast or snack costs next to nothing. To get the most for your money, stick with bulk containers and stay away from yogurt that’s packaged for single servings (and packed with sugar).



Oats are a great source of fiber and can even help lower your cholesterol. Although individual packets of instant oatmeal may shave some minutes off your morning routine, stretch your dollar by buying them in bulk.



Whoever came up with the slogan “the incredible, edible egg” really hit the nail on the head. Whether poached, scrambled, sunny-side-up or hard-boiled, this protein packed food is as inexpensive, wholesome and tasty as they come.



A great source of potassium and fiber, bananas are one of the most economical fruits around. Eat them plain or slice them up as a healthy topping for cereal and yogurt.


garbanzo beans

Whether you prefer garbanzo, pinto, black beans or other varieties, this filling food is high in protein, potassium fiber and zinc. Thrifty tip: go for dry beans instead of canned.



Folate, calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C: broccoli has it all. Not only is it good for your health, it’s easy on your wallet, as well. Plus, it contains phytonutrients that can help keep diabetes and heart disease at bay.



Unfortunately, tofu gets a bad rap when it comes to taste. But, this protein-rich meat alternative can make your mouth water with appetizing recipes like Korean-inspired soft tofu soup with kimchi or Southeast Asian tofu lettuce wraps.



Crammed with iron and vitamin C, this low-cost, low-calorie vegetable tastes delicious in omelets and salads. Plus, it’s the perfect topping for a vegetarian pizza.

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

High in potassium, fiber and beta carotene, sweet potatoes are a cheap and healthy way to garnish salads and enjoy a snack between meals. Just don’t waste your money on cubed packages; peeling and cutting them yourself will save you some cash.



An apple a day? Yeah, you’ve heard it before, and for good reason. This juicy fruit boasts loads of pectin and vitamin C, not to mention a low price tag.



Like salmon,  the sardine is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike salmon, it’s relatively cheap and eco-friendly. For a healthier meal, substitute mayonnaise with a little oil and vinegar.



Nuts are rich in protein, essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Just buy them raw, in the shell, for the best bargain and stay away from costly varieties like pecans and macadamia nuts.

Don’t miss Lower on the Food Chain, Lighter on the Wallet: 18 Easy Elements of a Sustainable Diet for more economical, eco-friendly diet tips!

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14 thoughts on “Cheap, Green ‘n Lean: 12 Tasty, Healthy Foods for Under $1

  1. Pingback: NETWORTHY: Stay hungry | Montreal Mirror

  2. Pingback: 12 Tasty and Healthy Food Items You Can Get for Under $1 | Healthy Ken

  3. 10 minutes of boiling beans eliminates any dangerous toxins. And there are plenty of dishes you can make without having to soak the beans overnight. The only way they would be toxic is if they were so undercooked that you couldn’t/wouldn’t want to eat them anyway. Stop with the scare stories.

    You wouldn’t touch oats? Really?

  4. Pingback: » Cheap, Green ‘n Lean: 12 Tasty, Healthy Foods for Under $1 Body Untapped

  5. Pingback: Cheap, Green 'n Lean: 12 Tasty, Healthy Foods – EcoSalon | Organic … | Cheap Healthy Foods

  6. This site is so great! I love the tips, I made a cheap tuna spinach sandwich today and got the idea from you folks!

    Loved it!

  7. Pingback: Eight healthy foods that you can get for cheap | Devotions and More

  8. I love your articles and this one is a great one! Re previous comment on eggs. I buy mine from a local hobby farm and it costs me $2.50 CA not US even – they are varying sizes but mostly are large. They are also different colours which is very cool. I suggest folks try to find someone local or someone that brings in local eggs etc from outside the cities. You would be supporting them and doing yourself a favour.

    I’ve not had the same issues with dried beans that the commenter had. I use them mostly in soups and just rinse them very well and add – a couple hours and voila – they are soft and so delicious. Even if I had to soak them overnight for a salad I find it nothing to do since I’m asleep :)

    Thanks again for all the great tips & ideas.

  9. A few words about eggs and beans. Free range eggs are expensive. We have them here sold for 3.50 to 3.99 pounds! Salmon is cheaper. Yes, there are eggs which cost almost nothing, but have you seen the hens they are coming from? I did. I will not touch an egg from any of them.

    As for dry beans, yes they are cheaper, but you have to soak them overnight and then boil them for hours to make them edible. Most beans (and grains and potatoes actually ) are toxic and if not cooked properly will give you a major stomach upset or even food poisoning.

    Personally, I wouldn’t touch any dairy products and oats (for above resons) as well, but I guess they are healthy in a way. Depends on your lifestyle and diet really.

  10. Those are good suggestions. Apples, bananas and eggs are all great.

    I’ll stick to regular potatoes over sweet potatoes though!

  11. These are good, good foods. Well written article. Thanksfor sharing.

  12. Will you move in and shop for me? Need those ideas. I did make a cheap ass veggie soup, yum, with what was in the drawer and a bit more, including cabbage, veggie broth, carrots, zucchini, onions and seasonings. Will last a few days and zero points for a cup.

  13. Great, simple ideas. I forget how easy it is to bake sweet potato fries on a cookie sheet…I especially forget when I’m standing in the “chips” aisle at the grocery store!


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