There are a lot of people out there who think that eating healthy is expensive. This is not true! There are plenty of affordable foods that you can buy to make healthy meals for yourself. I have listed 66 of the cheapest foods to buy when you are broke or want to save money.
You must look for cheap alternatives when money is tight, which applies to food just as much as everything else. The good news is that plenty of affordable foods can help you make healthy meals without breaking your budget.
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Cheapest foods to buy when you are broke
Some foods are not very expensive. Always buy seasonal produce from the farmer’s market. Another important thing is to learn how to cook food at home. Cooking your wholesome food at home is good for health and wealth.
Cheapest Vegetables to buy when you are broke
Vegetables are healthy and affordable, and there are many different kinds to choose from. Some cheapest veggies include carrots, potatoes, and leafy greens like spinach and kale. These foods don’t require much preparation or cooking time, so they are a quick and easy option when you need something fast.
Carrots are amongst the cheapest vegetables on the market, and you can buy them in large quantities for even less. Plus, they are packed with nutrients like vitamin A, which is essential for eye health.
Carrots are a great addition to soups and stews, or you can eat them as a snack. Even kids like to eat sweet, crunchy carrots. Juicing is another option for consuming this healthy and cheap vegetable.
Potatoes are another incredibly affordable vegetable, and they are packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C.
In addition, they can be prepared in many different ways so you can enjoy them any time of the day. For example, make some crispy roasted potatoes for dinner or prepare a batch of potato salad as a side dish for your lunch.
My favorite is making stuffed Indian Paratha with mashed boiled potatoes mixed with spices and coriander.
Spinach is full of nutrients and not very expensive. You can even grow spinach if you have some backyard space. Eat it in a salad or add it to yellow lentils or stir-fry.
Squash is another healthy and inexpensive vegetable you can buy in large quantities. Various varieties include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash.
Squash is great for baking or roasting and can also be added to soups and stews for a hearty meal.
5. Sweet potatoes
This humble vegetable is so versatile and incredibly affordable. You can roast, bake them, or even make a sweet potato pie for dessert!
So if you are looking for cheap and healthy foods, look no further than the humble sweet potato.
Zucchini is my favorite vegetable, and it’s easy to cook. You can bake, roast, grill, or even spiralize zucchini into pasta-like noodles.
And, of course, it is also very affordable.
7. Green Pepper
Another excellent option for affordable vegetables is green pepper. This tasty vegetable can be added to many different dishes, from stir-fries and curries to salads and soups. And, of course, it’s also very cheap ( in season), so you can buy as much or as little as you need without breaking the bank.
You can’t talk about affordable vegetables without mentioning tomatoes. This nutritious and versatile food is easy to add to any meal, from curries to salads and sandwiches to burgers and pizzas.
And best of all, tomatoes are incredibly cheap, so you can stock up on them when they go on sale at the grocery store.
Finally, peas are another great choice to save money on your grocery bill. Whether you prefer frozen or fresh peas, this healthy and delicious vegetable is an excellent addition to any meal. And it’s also very affordable, so you can buy as many or as few as you need without breaking the bank.
I must admit that if I don’t have frozen peas available in my freezer, I start to feel something is missing. So I add them to most of the cooked vegetable curries.
When you cook cauliflower and potato curry, it gets a yellow color from turmeric, but when you add a handful of peas, it provides a beautiful yellow-green hue.
Kids love the taste of Pumpkin. Being sweet and full of vitamins, this food is incredibly cheap and easy to cook with.
So whether you want to bake or roast pumpkin or add it to soups and curries for a delicious and healthy meal, there’s no doubt that this humble vegetable is a great choice when you’re looking for affordable foods.
Another excellent option for cheap and healthy foods is cabbage. This versatile veggie can be used in many dishes, from stews and stir-fries to salads and slaws. And it’s also very affordable, so you can stock up on this nutrient-dense vegetable without breaking the bank.
Whether you want to bake, roast, or grill eggplant, this versatile vegetable is an excellent addition to any meal. And it’s also incredibly cheap, so you can buy as much or as little as you need without spending too much money.
If you are looking for cheap and healthy foods? Look no further than beans. This nutritious legume is versatile and easy to cook, whether you want to add it to curries, stews, or soups. And, of course, it’s also incredibly affordable, making it the perfect choice if you’re on a tight budget.
Cucumbers are another great choice when you’re on a tight budget. Whether you want to add them to salads or use them for juicing and smoothies, this nutritious vegetable is an excellent addition to any meal.
Of course, you can’t talk about affordable vegetables without mentioning celery. This nutrient-dense veggie is versatile and easy to cook with, whether you want to add it as a crunchy topping to soups and salads or munch on it as a healthy snack.
Finding affordable and healthy foods can be challenging when you’re on a tight budget. But luckily, many different vegetables make great options for anyone trying to save money on their grocery bill.
One such veggie is lettuce; whether you prefer romaine or iceberg, this nutritious vegetable is perfect for adding to sandwiches and salads.
If you’re looking for healthy and affordable food, look no further than kale. Whether you want to add it to soups or stews or eat it raw in salads, this nutrient-dense vegetable is an excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
18. Salad Mix
When trying to save money on your grocery bills, it’s always a good idea to stock up on affordable and healthy foods like salad mix. Leafy greens add color as well as fiber to your diet.
Broccoli is another great veggie to add to your grocery list when trying to save money on healthy foods. This nutrient-dense vegetable, it’s a perfect choice for anyone looking for budget-friendly eats.
20. Long Melon
Long Melon is my favorite vegetable. You can make dry curry or curry with gravy with this one. It is so cheap and nutritious, making it perfect for anyone on a tight budget.
I cannot live without onions. Onions make a base of my everyday cooking for gravies, curried vegetables, or a Tadka ( sauteed onions with garlic and ginger) to add to cooked lentils. They are not expensive, so I can afford to buy them in bulk.
Whether you want to sautee, roast, grill, or bake mushrooms, they are a great addition to any meal. And they are also very affordable and nutritious, making them perfect for anyone looking for cheap and healthy foods on a budget.
Garlic is another must-have for any budget-conscious shopper. This flavorful and versatile veggie can add a ton of flavor to dishes like soups, stir-fries, stews, and more. And it’s also incredibly cheap, so you can easily buy as much or as little as you need without breaking the bank.
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Fruits as the cheapest food to buy when you are broke
Fruits are essential to a healthy diet; luckily, many fruits are also quite affordable. Whether you want to snack on them or add them to oatmeal and smoothies, here are some of the best budget-friendly fruits to try:
Bananas are one of the cheapest and most versatile fruits out there. They can be eaten as a healthy snack or added to smoothies and other recipes to boost nutrients.
Another excellent choice for budget-conscious shoppers is apples. The best part is that you can find them all year long, so you can always have a supply of this healthy fruit on hand.
So whether you eat them as a snack or add them to baked goods and other recipes, apples are a delicious and affordable way to get your daily dose of fruits and nutrients.
Oranges are also one of the budget-friendly fruit options. These delicious citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which supports immune function and helps keep you healthy all year.
Grapes are tasty as well as nutritionally dense fruits. You can eat them from the fridge or add them to fruit salads.
Watermelons are full of nutrients as well as lots of water. They are cheap as well as help you keep hydrated during summer.
Kiwi is a sweet, delicious, and healthy fruit. Its high vitamin C content keeps your immune system strong. Plus, it’s also very affordable, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to eat healthfully on a budget.
Pines are another excellent choice when you’re looking for cheap and healthy fruits. They are packed with vitamin C and other essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants that support your overall health.
31. Frozen berries
Frozen berries can be a great choice if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add more fruit to your diet.
They are nutritious, affordable, and perfect for whipping up smoothies or adding to oatmeal and other recipes.
Cantaloupes are packed with nutrients like vitamin A and potassium, which help support good health.
They’re also very affordable, making them an excellent option for anyone looking to add more fruit to their diet without breaking the bank.
Grains and cereals
Grains and cereals are a crucial part of any healthy diet; luckily, they are also some of the most affordable foods. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast cereal or something to bulk up your lunchtime salad, here are some great budget-friendly grains and cereals to try:
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest and most versatile grains out there. It’s packed with essential nutrients like fiber that support heart health and can be easily customized to suit your tastes.
So whether you want to eat it as a quick breakfast or add it to baked goods and other recipes, oatmeal is an affordable and nutritious way to start your day.
How can we not talk about rice? Today’s rice varieties are as delicious and nutritious as ever and affordable. So whether you want to make a simple side dish of steamed rice or add it to stir fry and other recipes, this budget-friendly grain is always a great choice.
A bowl of fresh popcorn makes for the perfect snack or movie night treat and is also very affordable.
It’s a great source of whole grains and fiber that can help keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. Plus, there are various varieties, from sweet kettle corn to savory parmesan cheese popcorn!
Pasta is one of the cheapest foods to buy when you are broke. It’s a versatile ingredient that can easily be added to soups, salads, and other dishes to create quick and easy meals on the go.
And with so many different types available, from whole wheat noodles to quinoa pasta, there’s something for everyone.
With various nutritious and delicious bread varieties available, it’s easy to find a loaf that fits your budget.
Whether you’re looking for whole-grain bread made with simple ingredients or something sweeter like cinnamon swirl bread, there’s always a tasty option. The best part, it is inexpensive and budget friendly.
Oats are packed with nutrients and fiber, which help keep you feeling full throughout the day.
Plus, they’re easy to add to all recipes, from baked goods and granola bars to savory soups and stews. And since oats are so affordable, it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet regularly.
39. Whole Wheat flour
Whole wheat flour is an excellent option for making healthier baked goods. It’s a good source of vitamins and minerals and carbohydrates. You can make your bread, roti, or naans with whole wheat flour.
Cereal is a quick and easy breakfast option that can help give you the energy you need to start your day. It’s affordable, packed with vitamins and minerals, and comes in many flavors.
I am vegetarian so I will write down only plant-based proteins.
Plant-based proteins are a healthy and budget-friendly option for anyone looking to add more protein to their diet. They’re also nutrient-rich, offering a wide range of vitamins and minerals to help keep you feeling your best. Here are some of the best plant-based proteins to try:
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of protein and fiber. They’re easy to cook once you know how to cook and can be used in many recipes, from stews to salads to hummus.
In addition, they make tasty curry affordable and widely available, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to add more protein to their diet.
Lentils are my favorite. Being vegetarian, I have to get my proteins from lentils, and I cook lentils every other day. Red Lentils, Green lentils ( Mung beans), and Black lentils are all excellent protein sources.
Meal ideas: Lentil balls, Dal Makhani( using black lentils). soups and sprouted beans( green Mung)
Soybeans are versatile plant-based proteins that can be used in various recipes, from tofu to tempeh to soy milk.
They’re high in vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium, and they offer a good amount of protein per serving.
Plus, they’re easy to incorporate into your diet, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to add more protein.
Beans are another excellent source of plant-based protein. Many different types of beans are available, so it’s easy to find one that fits your tastes and budget.
Whether you’re looking for black beans, kidney beans, or fava beans, there’s always a tasty option to try!
Like other legumes, peas are also packed with protein and fiber, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to add more. Dried peas make yummy and tasty soups or curries.
46. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is a good source of plant-based protein. It has a cheesy flavor and can be used in all recipes, from baked goods to soups to sauces.
47. Chia seeds
These tiny seeds are a great source of fiber and protein, plus they’re loaded with antioxidants and other essential nutrients.
They can be added to all recipes, from baked goods to smoothies, making them a versatile and affordable option for anyone looking to increase their protein intake.
48. Hemp seeds
Like chia seeds, hemp seeds are also a great source of fiber and protein. They’re packed with nutrients and can add a nutty flavor to all dishes.
This nutrient-rich grain is another excellent plant-based source of protein that’s also low in calories. It’s easy to cook and can be used for breakfast bowls, baked goods, or even salads.
Frozen foods are cheaper and more nutritious than fresh produce. In addition to being affordable, they’re also easy to store and can be used in a wide range of recipes, making them an ideal choice for anyone on a tight budget. Here are some of the best-frozen foods to try:
50. Frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetables are one of the healthiest and most affordable options for anyone looking to add more nutrients to their diet. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals and can be used in various recipes, such as stir-fries, curries, soups, or even smoothies.
51. Frozen fruit
Like frozen vegetables, frozen fruit is also one of the best options for anyone looking to get more nutrients. Whether you’re craving berries, mangos, peaches, or pineapple, frozen fruit is always a tasty and affordable choice.
It can be used in various recipes, from smoothies to parfaits to baked goods. Plus, it’s easy to keep on hand and store.
Dairy and dairy products are also excellent protein sources, making them another great option for anyone looking to add more nutrients to their diet. Here are some top dairy and dairy-product picks:
Whether you prefer whole milk or skim milk, milk is a cheap and nutritious way to get your daily dose of protein. In addition, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet, whether you’re drinking it on its own or using it to make smoothies, soups, and drinks.
From cheddar to Parmesan, cheese is a versatile source of protein. In addition, cheese can be added to pizzas, pasta, or soups to enhance the flavors.
Yogurt is a source of protein and provides your body with the required probiotics and other nutrients like potassium, calcium, and B vitamins. Mix it with some fruits to create a delicious smoothie, or have it as a snack.
55. Ice cream
If you are craving something sweet and cold, ice cream is the best pick when you’re broke. In summer, you can enjoy it at home and feel good. Sometimes it is difficult to live without guilty pleasures.
56. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a protein-rich food that can provide you with the nutrition needed in your body. It is mainly used as a salad topper but may also be combined with sauces, fruits, and veggies to make delicious recipes.
Butter is another source of protein that’s budget-friendly and easy to incorporate into your diet. But it is high in fat, so you should be careful how much you consume daily.
It can be used in all kinds of recipes, from baked goods to sauces, and even as a spread on toast or crackers.
58. Sour Cream
Like butter, sour cream is an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients. It can be used in a variety of recipes, such as dips, sauces, or even mixed into baked goods.
59. Baking ingredients
When shopping on a tight budget, finding the ingredients you need for baking can be challenging.
But don’t worry – there are plenty of affordable options when it comes to baking staples. Some great choices include flour, sugar, cocoa powder, butter or shortening, and eggs.
So whether you want to bake some cookies or make a batch of muffins, you can always find the ingredients you need without spending too much money.
Noodles are pantry staples when you’re on a tight budget. Whether you want to make your favorite stir-fry or ramen, this affordable and versatile ingredient is a must-have in any kitchen.
And it’s also easy to find at most grocery stores, so you can stock up on noodles without breaking the bank.
Another must-have in any pantry on a tight budget is condiments. Whether you love ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise, there are many affordable options for storing these critical ingredients in your kitchen.
They add much-needed flavor to so many dishes. So if you’re looking for budget-friendly foods, don’t forget about condiments.
62. Tea and tea bags
Whether you want to sip on a cup of tea or add it to your favorite recipes, there are many affordable options for tea and tea bags. And, of course, this delicious beverage can help keep you hydrated and energized.
Last but not least, spices are another must-have when you’re shopping on a tight budget.
You can add a touch of heat or some extra flavor to your favorite dishes and there are many affordable options for spices and herbs. So don’t forget about these critical ingredients the next time you’re grocery shopping.
64. Canned beans
Canned beans are a great staple in your pantry when you’re on a tight budget. Not only are they affordable and versatile, but they also make it easy to add protein and fiber to your favorite meals. You can use them in soups, stews, or salads for a healthy dinner or lunch.
65. Cooking oil
Of course, cooking oil is another must-have in any kitchen on a tight budget. Whether you prefer olive oil, canola oil, or coconut oil for your cooking needs, many affordable options will help keep you healthy without breaking the bank. So don’t forget to stock up on these key ingredients!
If you love Mexican food, salsa is a must-have in your kitchen. Whether you want to add extra heat to your tacos or make a fresh salad with a tasty dressing, there are tons of affordable options for salsa. And, of course, this versatile ingredient also makes it easy to have delicious and healthy meals anytime.
Foods to buy when you are broke
The list I have created contains a lot of foods. However, you don’t need to buy all of them. Just choose the ones available in your grocery stores according to the season. Seasonal produce is the best for your health as well as your wallet.
1. Fruits and vegetables: Fresh produce is an excellent option for healthy and affordable foods, so don’t forget about seasonal fruits and vegetables when shopping on a tight budget.
2. Canned goods: From beans to tomatoes, many affordable options for canned goods can help you create delicious and healthy meals on a budget.
3. Pasta: Whether you want to make a hearty Bolognese sauce or just some quick mac and cheese, pasta is always an affordable staple that can help keep you fed without breaking the bank.
4. Dairy: Cheese, milk, and yogurt are affordable options that can add protein and flavor to your meals. And, of course, they are also great for a quick breakfast or snack.
5. Rice: Whether you want to make stir-fries or rice bowls, rice is an affordable ingredient that can help keep you fed without spending too much money.
Places to get free food when you are broke
You can go to many places to get free food when you are broke. Some options include local food banks, community meal programs, and shelters.
Organizations like Meals on Wheels or other community kitchens offer free meals to those in need.
And, of course, many restaurants and cafes will often have special promotions or free food giveaways to help you get the nourishment you need without breaking the bank.
Whatever your budget level or dietary needs, there are plenty of options out there to help keep you fed when times are tough.
So don’t hesitate to take advantage of these resources and start stocking up on healthy and affordable foods today!
Places to buy cheap food when you are broke
You can go to many places to buy cheap food when you are broke. Grocery stores and farmers’ markets are often great options, as they typically offer a wide range of affordable foods that fit any budget. Additionally, many online resources like meal delivery services or grocery delivery apps can help you get healthy meals on a budget.
Always buy home brands while shopping. Home brands are always cheaper.
I hope this list will help you find the cheapest foods when you are broke.
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