WEIGHT LOSS & NUTRITION

8 Foods That Will Help You Eat Healthy On A Budget

  • 1) Skinless Chicken Thighs
    1 / 8 1) Skinless Chicken Thighs

    They’re a good source of lean protein and a main ingredient for meals ranging from stir-fries to salads and stews.

    “Not only are skinless thighs a lot cheaper than breasts, they’re more flavorful and easier to cook because they don’t dry out as readily,” says Monica Reinagel, a nutritionist and author of Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet.

    Related: 4 Healthy Meals You Can Make With A Rotisserie Chicken

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  • 2) Cod And Haddock
    2 / 8 2) Cod And Haddock

    Fish is known for having tons of health benefits, but buying wild salmon and king crab legs can empty your bank account in a hurry. Reinagel suggests cod as a healthy and budget-friendly choice: It’s loaded with vitamin B12, iodine, and selenium.

    “Canned chunk light tuna is another bargain,” she says. “It’s also much lower in mercury than white tuna.”

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  • 3) Frozen Produce
    3 / 8 3) Frozen Produce

    Most of us could use more fruit and vegetables in our daily diet, and one affordable way to fit them in is to opt for the frozen variety.

    “Frozen fruits and vegetables are a no-brainer,” Reinagel says. “They’re just as nutritious or more so than fresh,” because they’re packed at their peak.

    And there’s virtually no waste because they can stay frozen for a long time—no more discovering moldy fruit in your fridge’s produce drawer weeks after you bought it.

    Related: 14 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

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  • 4) Beans
    4 / 8 4) Beans

    “They’re an inexpensive source of lean protein, taking the place of pricier poultry, meat, or fish in dishes like soups, stews, and chilis,” says Joy Bauer, RDN, a health and nutrition expert for NBC’s Today show and author of From Junk Food to Joy Food.

    She notes that both canned and dried beans are heart-healthy, and that a recent study shows they may help you lose weight.

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  • 5) Peanut Butter
    5 / 8 5) Peanut Butter

    Though peanut butter may seem like a kids’ food, Bauer says not to count out that creamy (or crunchy) goodness.

    “This protein-packed spread also boasts healthy fats, and the combo can help keep you feeling full,” she says. She suggests choosing natural peanut butter (no added sugars or oils) and limiting yourself to 2 Tbsp. per serving so that the calorie count doesn’t get out of hand.

    Related: WATCH: How To Make Your Own Peanut Butter

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  • 6) Eggs
    6 / 8 6) Eggs

    Hardboiled, over-easy, or in an omelette, “there are dozens of reasons to love eggs,” Bauer says. “They’re a high-quality source of lean protein, they are so versatile (you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack), and they’re inexpensive.”

    If you’re looking to save some calories, try mixing one whole egg with a few egg whites. 

    Related: 7 Ways You Mess Up The Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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  • 7) Sweet Potatoes
    7 / 8 7) Sweet Potatoes

    Potatoes are another affordable whole food packed with nutrients.

    “At about $1 per pound, they’re a real bargain,” Bauer says. And these orange-hued super spuds are packed with nutrients, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber. “One of my favorite ways to use them is to create these delish Sweet Potato Fries.”

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  • 8) Oatmeal
    8 / 8 8) Oatmeal

    “When it comes to healthy breakfast dishes, it doesn’t get any cheaper than oats,” Bauer notes. “This whole grain dish is loaded with fiber, protein, and other beneficial nutrients.”

    One serving (½ cup dry oats) contains 5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber—and it will only cost you 150 calories and about 30 cents. For the best value, go with the big canisters instead of the boxes of individual packets.

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