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ADD THESE TO YOUR GROCERY LIST!
Eating healthy food on a tight budget can be challenging, especially if you have a big family.
But there are plenty of ingredients that are packed with nutrients and are easy to add to your diet.
All the foods on this list are affordable, yet full of flavours and if added to your weekly shopping, will help you to save a lot of money and to eat super healthy meals.
Do you want to find out what these foods are? Read the list below:
I love lentils. They have been a staple of my diet for years now. Lentils are low in calories and high in nutrition and are a great protein source. Their nutty and hearty flavours are perfect for soups, salads and as a meat substitute for burgers and Bolognese sauce!
2| Black Beans
Black beans are full of fibre, calcium, folic acid and potassium. Great in soups, burritos and tacos, if you boil them at home you will preserve more antioxidants and end up with a healthier alternative than canned beans. I normally boil a big batch over the weekend and freeze them in smaller portions, ready to use!
3| Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
These round beans are packed with fibre. They are a great filler to add to salads and curries and are amazing for making falafel and vegan burgers. Plus, let’s not forget the versatility of delicious hummus. I also love using chickpea flour as a great gluten-free alternative for pasta and pizza base.
4| Whole Wheat Pasta
Filling and full of fibre (up to 5 times more!) compared to standard white pasta, whole wheat pasta contains more proteins, antioxidants and vitamin E. I normally boil it and add lots of veggies to make a cheap and tasty dinner!
5| Brown Rice
Brown rice is rich in many vitamins, including B6, plus it’s relatively low in calories, high in fibre and gluten-free. It’s a much healthier alternative than standard rice. Remember that when brown rice is polished and made into white rice, it loses over 60% of vitamin B3, 80% of B1, 90% of B6 and all the fibre and fatty acids. I enjoy brown rice as a side for curries, or in one pot recipes with lots of veggies.
High in fibre and low in fat, oatmeal is a great ingredient to add to cookies, overnight oats and oatcakes. It releases energy slowly and it will keep you fuller for longer!
Full of fibre and potassium, bananas are incredibly cheap and filling. I love slicing them up and eating them with nut butter, on top of oatmeal, or frozen and blended for the perfect smoothie!
What did grandma teach us? An apple a day keeps the doctor away! There is truth in old sayings… apples are extremely rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and fibre. Studies have shown that eating apples might help to reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Eat them raw with their skin for maximum health benefits, or dipped in nut butter for a nutritious, protein-packed snack!
There are many reasons why eating oranges should be part of your diet. They are low in calories but full of vitamin C and potassium, they help to maintain clear and healthy skin, and they help to regulate high blood pressure. Try to consume the whole fruit, too. Orange juice is good but it’s full of sugar and by drinking it, you lose all the fibre contained in the skin.
Almonds are my favourite snack, especially almond butter! Almonds are rich in nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, and they have more fibre than any other tree nut. Eating them every day helps to keep cholesterol at bay!
11| Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are some of the most healthful nuts in the world. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates and an excellent source of vitamin B1, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. But most importantly, they contain the highest amount of selenium, which is essential for maintaining thyroid function. Opening the hard shell is quite tricky so buy them ready to eat in bulk to get a good price, and enjoy them as a healthy snack.
Eggs are a great source of cheap, high-quality protein. The egg white contains more than half of the protein, with lower amounts of fat and lots of vitamin B2. Egg whites are also a rich source of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. I love them in a good frittata, scrambled or poached with lots of veggies.
13| Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have more fibre and vitamin A (the orange only!) than white potatoes, plus, their glycemic index is lower too. Boil them, bake them, mash them, or use them as a healthy alternative to a slice of bread. There are so many ways to eat them but make sure you serve them with some fat, as this will help absorb the vitamin A.
Carrots are the perfect raw snack to dip in hummus. Full of fibre and vitamin A, and loaded with overwhelming evidence on their health benefits, including a reduction in cardiovascular and cancer disease risks. Full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, carrots might also help with blood sugar regulation and immune functions. They are also great in soups and roasted with other veggies.
These nutritious vegetables supply loads of nutrients for few calories. They contain high levels of vitamins C and K, which reduce the risk of bone fractures. Blend them in soups, add them to a tasty frittata, or roast them with a bit of garlic, chilli and olive oil.
Low in cholesterol, spinach is high in iron, zinc, protein and fibre. You can eat spinach raw in salads, but I prefer it cooked and always add a handful to soups, curries and veggie burgers. Believe it or not, if you cook spinach, you will be able to absorb higher levels of nutrients.
Cabbage is rich in fibre and vitamins and its part of the cruciferous vegetable family, like kale and broccoli. If you are looking to improve your diet, cabbage should be at the very top of your list. It is great finely chopped in salads, but also braised and cooked in stir-fried dishes and casseroles.
18| Chili Peppers
Chilies contain capsaicin, which is responsible for its intense heat and helps to reduce inflammation. They also contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. I use them to spice up my favourite dishes and to help reduce the quantity of salt needed to bring flavour.
Turmeric has been used across Asia for thousands of years and its health benefits have now been discovered in the Western world too! From preventing cancer to easing upset tummies, turmeric is an exceptional spice and we should all include it in our daily diet!
20| Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I left this to last as it might not be the cheapest food on the list, but you definitely have to include it in your diet for all its health benefits. Several studies believe the increased longevity associated with the Mediterranean diet is mostly linked with the consumption of extra virgin olive oil. It contains some of the strongest natural antioxidants – phenolic compounds – which have been shown to destroy free radicals, kill cancer cells, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Try to consume it raw on salads, pasta, soups and veggies for maximum health benefits.
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