Cheap food doesn’t have to be boring! Who wants to eat boring food?
When I was a single mom, with very little in the way of cooking skills, I was looking for cheap, healthy foods that had a good amount of nutritional value and could be prepared easily, that were cheap!
I could barely boil water (like, no joke) so simple was very important for me.
Below are 20 food items that are nutritious, and usually very inexpensive at the grocery!
Potatoes are the #1 consumed vegetable in the US and #4 worldwide! Potatoes contain a good amount of Vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
Potatoes are a favorite of cooks looking for great value for their money!
Potatoes are one of the cheapest foods you can live on! They can be served solo or as a way to stretch leftovers.
You can prepare potatoes so many ways!
Mashed Potatoes– Sometimes I’ll put chicken noodle soup or leftover chili over a bowl of mashed potatoes to stretch them even further!
Whether you prefer brown or white, rice remains of the best foods to put on your cheap food shopping list.
Eating rice everyday makes you feel more full, which is a good thing when money is tight!
Rice is so versatile!
It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner! I like to use my Instant Pot to make a big batch of rice for the week!
Rice can stretch canned dog food even further! Mixed 1:1, rice almost doubles my canned dog food! My dogs love it!
Breakfast Fried Rice – I LOVE this recipe because it’s so flexible, making use of just about any leftovers you have in the frig!
Breakfast Rice/ Hot Cereal – I remember eating this when I was a kid!
Easy Breakfast Rice for College Students – Another great rice recipe, using up random food items from your refrigerator.
Risotto Rice – Quick and easy to whip up for dinner or lunch!
Oatmeal is just another fabulous, cheap food to live on.
Thing is, I would eat oatmeal even if it were expensive, but it remains as one of the cheapest foods at the grocery store!
Heck, oatmeal is gluten-free without the hefty price!
There are tons of creative ways to prepare oatmeal, for breakfast, cookies, granola, muffins and more!
Apples are one of the cheapest healthy foods at the grocery store, all year round!
Check out these quick and easy apple recipes!
To be honest, raw apples that are washed and ready to be eaten as snacks or added to school lunches are the easiest way to get them eaten.
When my apples get a little soft, I like to fry them up in some butter and cinnamon! Delicious!
Back in the day, apples were almost categorized as herbs, rather than a fruit, due to the vitamins and minerals that they contain!
Ever heard “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away”??
Yep, that’s where that saying came from.
Bread is the next cheapest food to live on!
Some of the cheapest foods to make can be made with bread: Sandwiches, French toast, grilled cheese and more!
I think most of us remember our moms making croutons out of stale bread.
Don’t bread’s capabilities don’t stop with croutons!
Whether you catch bread on sale or make your own, bread can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert!
Eggs are almost always cheap!
And talk about a nutritional powerhouse!
Eggs contain 75 calories, as well as 7 grams of protein, is low in fat, contains iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids!
The easiest way that we enjoy eggs is either scrambled with toast, or fried egg sandwiches with cheese.
Who doesn’t think about beans when looking for a cheap meal idea?
But, let me tell you…
These bean recipes are NOT your mama’s bean recipes!
Beans have come a long way, baby!
Carrots are another cheap food that just happen to be a nutritional powerhouse!
Carrots are just about always cheap, but especially in the Spring!
While there are some fabulous carrot recipes to be made and enjoyed, I’m pretty content to just munch on baby carrots raw when I’m cooking or on the internet.
Another simple way I enjoy carrots is to just drizzle some olive oil on them, with lots of salt and pepper and then simply roast them. They are so sweet that way!
I am always in pursuit of sale peanut butter, 9 cents per ounce is my rock-bottom buying price!
So, take the plunge and try something different than the PB&J!
Ah, every gardener’s bain of existence!
During the summer, zucchini are in abundance and cheap!
Once again, the FB goes down the easy path by sauteing chopped up zucchini in a skillet and eat it that way!
But do check out all of these amazing zucchini recipes!
Macaroni and Cheese
Boxed Mac-n-Cheese is an old stand-by, but it doesn’t have to be BORING!
Take advantage of the humble, boxed macaroni and cheese, stock up and rock some creative meals!
If you walk into my pantry, you’ll find a whole mess of canned tuna.
Growing up, everyone’s mom made Tuna Casserole at least once a week!
Once I was in college, I ate quite a few tuna fish sandwiches (on toast), with loads of lettuce and tomato.
My kids have never been interested in any of the above (Gasp! I know right?!)
However, there are plenty of great tuna recipes out there to try!
Milk is another cheap staple at the grocery store!
You might be surprised to know that there’s a lot more you can do with milk besides drink it!
Next time you see milk on sale, or are in danger of some milk going bad, be sure to check out these amazing recipes!
Tortillas are cheap at the store, but even cheaper to make!
For just a few cents each, you can make fresh, hot, yummy tortillas.
However, if you prefer to buy them, you can still make some awesome meals with them!
Bananas are a super-cheap food at the grocery, that are available just about all year round!
Bananas don’t last long around my house!
We eat them raw for the most part, but if the bananas are still in the fruit bowl long enough to turn brown, I usually make banana bread!
We’re talking about real cheese here, not “American” cheese (which isn’t really cheese).
Cheese brings some decent nutritional value to the table (think milk!) so it’s totally worth your time to seek out good deals on quality cheese.
I like to buy cheese in bulk at Costco or at Aldi.
Chicken Legs and Thighs
When you’re shopping for cheap cuts of meat, chickens legs and thighs are usually a great buy!
The chicken’s dark meat contains different vitamins than the white meat does, so make sure you include it in your diet!
Ground beef is another cheap cut of meat at the grocery, so stay tuned for sales on this staple!
Ground beef is probably the meat we cook with the most! We love burgers on the grill, chili, sloppy joes, hamburger soup, etc.
We keep as much ground beef as we can find in our freezer!
Or, if money permits, buy bulk beef from a farmer!
In Season Fruits and Vegetables
Finally, just about any food that is in season is the cheapest.
When citrus is in season, buy it!
Cook with it, eat it for snacks, make your own DIY Vitamin C capsules…whatever.
But get in the habit of realizing what foods are in season.
I promise you that you will save money when you take advantage of the loss leader sales at the grocery, which are almost always “in season” foods!