Healthy Eating on a Balanced Budget

Eating healthy can be cheap and easy. It may seem like you could buy a lot of spam and cheeseburgers for the cost of a single bunch of organic bananas, but eating healthy does not have to be so expensive. Here is a guide to cheap, nutritious foods that are within your food budget.


Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables

Canned and frozen foods are a cheap and nutritious choice if you cannot afford fresh produce.1 Try adding many different colors of fruits and vegetables to your diet. It does not make a big difference if it is canned, frozen, or fresh.1

  • Frozen soybeans make a great snack and are a good source of protein.
  • Add frozen fruits for smoothies or add to oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Frozen vegetables can be added in a stir-fry. Once cooked, they can be refrozen and used to make an easy soup with beans and stock.
  • Canned green beans, corn, carrots, or peas can be added to any meal on the side.


Protein sources

Meats and poultry and fresh fish can be expensive. Here are some less expensive protein options:


  • Add it to a stir-fry with frozen vegetables.
  • It can be used as a ground meat substitute.

Beans (canned or dried)

  • Beans and rice
  • Bean burritos
  • Hummus and chips
  • Bean soups

Peanut butter or other nut butters

  • On bread with honey or fresh fruit preserves
  • Add to oatmeal

Canned tuna fish2

  • You can use tuna in salad, sandwiches, and sushi rolls


Sustainable food

Having a small vegetable garden is a cheap way to add fresh produce into your diet. Produce you grow is also more ecologically friendly.


It is not always easy to plant your own vegetables. Another good option is to check out your local Farmer’s Market. They sell local fruits and vegetables for cheaper because they are seasonal and need less transportation.


  1. Miller SR, Knudson WA. Nutrition and Cost Comparisons of Select Canned, Frozen, and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2014; 8:6:430 – 437
  2. Kapica C, Weiss W (2012) Canned Fruits, Vegetables, Beans and Fish Provide Nutrients at a Lower Cost Compared to Fresh, Frozen or Dried. J Nutr Food Sci 2:131. doi:10.4172/2155-9600.1000131

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