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Healthy Eating on a Low Budget

By Lau Hanly ; Updated April 18, 2017

Eating healthy foods doesn't mean that you need to spend large amounts of money every week. You simply have to choose foods that have high levels of nutrients without the high price tag. You can do this in any supermarket, provided you know what to look for and have clear goals as to what you want to eat.

Affordable Protein Sources

Protein is an important element of any diet, as it allows your body to maintain its normal function and mass, not to mention repairing itself after strain or injury. Natural protein sources include beef, chicken and fish. To keep your costs down, choose rump steak, diced beef or stir-fry beef over more expensive cuts like sirloin or ribeye. Chicken thighs are much less expensive than chicken breast but offer similar nutritional benefits -- though thighs are higher in fat. Canned fish packed in water, such as tuna and salmon, are very high in protein and healthy fats but are low in cost.

Low-Cost Fat Sources

Fats are an integral part of the diet. They allow healthy cell and nerve function, facilitate brain function and digestion, and serve as an effective form of energy. To get healthy fats into your diet without breaking the budget, choose foods like eggs, natural yogurt, ricotta cheese, olive oil and nuts. While oils and nuts might have a higher up-front cost, you only need small servings. This means they will last you a much longer time than other dietary fat options, such as avocados or wheels of cheese.

Inexpensive Carbohydrate Sources

Carbohydrates provide easily accessible energy for the body. The cost of carbohydrate sources can add up very quickly over time, as they tend to be eaten quite quickly. Replace bread and crackers with bananas, sweet potato, regular potatoes, pumpkin, brown rice and quinoa. Rice and quinoa can be bought in bulk quite cheaply, and one purchase will last you for weeks. Potatoes are also easily bought in bulk, and bananas can be frozen to make them last longer.

Red-Tag Snacks

Healthy snacks can be a very important part of staying satiated and on track with your dietary goals. Cost-effective options that use simple ingredients can easily be added to your grocery list. They include raw cucumber, carrot and celery, unsalted popcorn, hard-boiled eggs, fruit such as apples and oranges, whole-grain crackers, in-season berries and dark chocolate.

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