8 Nutritious Food Staples for Under $3

vegan chili

We have all kinds of grocery stores around my neighborhood. I could shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a whole assortment of specialty stores any day of the week. I do go to those places for things here and there, but I still find the best deals at my large average grocery store chain. It spans nearly the entire Northeast and there is nothing particularly special about it. It is just where I tend to find the best deals on a whole host of healthy foods. These staples are readily available in most stores, I think, and I hope after reading this you’ll be on the lookout for them. For under $3 per item, you can easily use these staples as a base for meals to create some healthy, budget-friendly menus for your family!

  • Bagged Spinach 1 of 8
    Bagged Spinach

    A 9-ounce bag of spinach is $2.99, sometimes less with a coupon. I use it to make nutritious salads, wilt it as a base for fish, or even add it chopped to soups.
    Make a spinach, tangerine, and fennel salad

  • Brown Rice 2 of 8
    Brown Rice

    A 32-ounce bag of rice costs $2.39. This can easily feed our family of three for at least six meals. I use it for everything from making fried rice bowls, serving with grilled chicken, or stuffing peppers and eggplant.
    Here are 7 delicious things to make with brown rice

  • Canned Tuna 3 of 8
    Canned Tuna

    A quality 5-ounce can of tuna costs $1.65. There are so many ways to use this, and it keeps well so it is always good to store for later! Our favorite thing to make is, obviously, tuna salad!
    Here are 10 ways to cook a can of tuna

  • Dried Lentils 4 of 8
    Dried Lentils

    Our average grocery store doesn't have a bulk grain aisle, but I can still get basic grains at good prices. A 16-ounce bag of dried lentils costs around $0.85, and I can use that to make at least two batches of soup that feed four people each.
    Make vegan chili with dried lentils

  • Whole Wheat Pasta 5 of 8
    Whole Wheat Pasta

    A 13.2-ounce box of whole wheat pasta costs about $1.50. I usually buy two boxes in different shapes because we eat it all the time! Our favorite way to serve it is tossed with fresh vegetables.
    Make whole wheat pasta with kale

  • Eggs 6 of 8

    One egg costs $0.25. Of course, I usually buy a half-dozen, but since I eat one for lunch with a slice of whole wheat bread, I know I am getting a good deal. A single slice of toast and one egg makes a $0.36 meal!
    Or, take it up a notch to $1.50 by making baked eggs in avocado

  • Edamame 7 of 8

    I recently discovered edamame. A 12-ounce bag, shelled or in the pods, costs $2.50. I used it as a pre-dinner snack, but it can be used for all kinds of healthy snacks and side dishes!
    Make edamame hummus

  • Greek Yogurt 8 of 8
    Greek Yogurt

    I love Greek yogurt, and an individual 6-ounce container costs about $1.25. If I don't eat it as is, I often use it to bind chicken salad or make a creamy pasta sauce!
    Here are 7 delicious ways to cook with Greek yogurt

All prices taken from

Photo Credit: Jaime

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