5 Cheap, Healthy Foods for the Frugal Shopper

A nutritionist recommends affordable favorites, such as oatmeal and blueberries.
Laura McMullen
By Laura McMullen 
Edited by Rick VanderKnyff

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Eating healthy and spending less are both noble goals – and they don't need to compete. To pull off this combo, nutritionist Keri Gans recommends adding the following cheap, healthy foods to your shopping list.

1. Oatmeal: This inexpensive whole grain is “jam-packed with nutrients,” says Gans, author of “The Small Change Diet." And it’s cheap (and healthy) when you buy a large container of plain oats instead of individual flavored packets. For a balanced breakfast, Gans mixes oats with nonfat milk, peanut butter and a banana.

2. Canned salmon: Get the omega-3 fatty acids and protein of salmon without paying the steeper price of fresh fish. To prepare canned salmon, Gans suggests swapping it into a tuna-salad recipe.

Every household should have eggs in it.
Keri Gans, nutritionist

3. Eggs: Protein-rich eggs are affordable and versatile. “Every household should have eggs in it,” Gans says. Enjoy eggs scrambled, poached or sunny-side up — but skip the bacon and hashbrowns, Gans says.

4. Blueberries: This tiny fruit is loaded with fiber and vitamins C and K. To save money, buy berries in-season or frozen, Gans says, but check frozen varieties for additives. “The only thing that should be on the ingredient label is the fruit itself,” Gans says. Her recipe for a healthy parfait: Mix blueberries with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of high-fiber cereal.

5. Broccoli: This vegetable has just about everything: protein, fiber, calcium, iron and many vitamins. Plus, it’s more affordable than many other veggies, Gans says, particularly when bought frozen. Just check that ingredient label to avoid unhealthy extras. Gans suggests steaming the broccoli or sauteing it in a little olive oil and garlic.