Healthy food often gets the reputation of being expensive and out of reach. When you waltz into Whole Foods and see cash registers flashing $300 totals, and they’re walking away with only two brown bags of groceries…, it can feel like it’s an impossibility to feed your whole family healthy foods reasonably.  I love going to local Farmer’s Markets but I also need quick, easy go-to staples for those times when I don’t meal plan and prep.

So, how do you eat healthfully without a second mortgage for a grocery budget? You might be surprised to know that there are many affordable, healthy food options out there.  These are ideal for keeping stocked in your kitchen at all times to help you make healthy meals at home.  You only need a few ingredients to make a scrumptious meal.

While prices will fluctuate depending on where you live, you’ll find these items for around $2 – $5, give or take, so there are no more excuses for not keeping healthy foods in your home.

Top Staples to Stock

Brown Rice

A versatile and healthy side, brown rice gives you those necessary whole grains you need. Replace white rice and processed carbs with it to round out your meals. You can even buy it on the bulk aisle and store it in an air-tight container to get more bang for your buck.  This is true for many other whole grains as well.  Look for quinoa and couscous too.

Frozen Veggies

Frozen veggies lock in the nutrients and are frozen at the peak of freshness, which means they can be as nutritious as fresh veggies. These are great for throwing together a quick side, making stews or soups, or even casseroles. I can often find some of my favorite veggies frozen more often than I can find them fresh.  Examples are peas, okra, lima beans, and mushrooms.  Frozen vegetables often go on sale, too, so stock up during that next sale.

Frozen Fruits

Same as with the frozen veggies, frozen fruits lock in the nutrients and are frozen at the peak of freshness.  That means you can get delicious summertime fruits in the middle of winter.  I use frozen fruits in smoothies multiple times per week.  As a result of buying frozen, I have greater variety – mango, pineapple, strawberries, banana, cherries – without the risk of spoilage.

Old-Fashioned Oats

Buy the store brand or better yet find the bulk section and save a ton on this healthy and filling breakfast staple. Take what you saved and splurge on organic, fresh berries to top your oatmeal breakfast with.

Fresh Bagged Leafy Greens

With all the outbreaks of E. coli surrounding Romaine lettuce, choosing bagged up leafy greens like spinach or kale is a better solution. Plus, they’re inexpensive and very healthy. You can make them into salads, blend them into smoothies, cook them with eggs, and so much more.

Fruits That Last

Some fruits last longer than others and are quite inexpensive to boot. While a small container of fresh, organic blueberries could run you $8 and last you a day or two — a 5lb bag of navel oranges can cost you $5 and last all week. Apples, oranges, pears, pineapple, and melons are all great options for these inexpensive, long-lasting fruits to keep around your kitchen.

If you keep these things around, when life throws you a curveball, you’ll still be able to eat nutritiously and deliciously!

Food for thought:

The key to eating healthy?  Avoid any food that has a tv commerical.

Don’t ask why healthy food is so expensive.  Ask why junk food is so cheap.