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Cheap Grocery List: Healthy Food Items for Any Budget

Team Farmstead June 05, 2022

Vegetables in a grocery store

Eating healthy is already a challenge for most of us, so eating nutritious food while staying on a budget sounds doubly hard. But staying healthy doesn’t need to be expensive. 

Since the pandemic began, more people have been working from home. Additionally, health restrictions make it difficult to dine out regularly. As a result, individuals have been preparing more meals at home. 

Making healthy meals starts with getting nutrition-packed foods from your supermarket. This cheap grocery list recommends 12 items you can buy so you can prepare healthy and delicious meals without breaking the bank.

Whole grains

Grains are on top of our cheap, healthy grocery list because they’re great sources of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. As you know, fiber-rich foods help you feel full and prevent overeating. Whole grains also improve digestion. Last but not least, they’re affordable and hassle-free to prepare.

1. Oats

Oats are one of the healthiest grains in the world. They’re gluten-free and filled with minerals like iron. You can eat it every day as oatmeal — just add milk or water and fruit toppings. Strawberries make great toppings because they’re rich in Vitamin C, which increases iron absorption. You can also ground up the oats to make flour for pancakes or waffles. Be careful when choosing your oats though because some instant oats are loaded with sugar and sodium. It’s best to stick with plain rolled oats. 

2. Brown rice

Brown rice is nutritious, gluten-free, and low on sugar. Plus, it can be eaten as a side dish or a base ingredient for a variety of dishes. Brown rice can be added to soup, stir-fried vegetables, salads, and casserole dishes. You can even use it to make rice pudding. 

Flavor enhancers

Add a savory taste and appetizing smell to your dishes with herbs and spices. Remember to include them even if you’re making a cheap grocery list for just one person.

3. Onions

Onions contain vitamins and minerals. They boost the flavor and aroma of any dish. Add onions to your favorite guacamole dip, rice dish, omelets, or baked goods. Or you can simply make onion rings.

4. Garlic

Garlic has long been used as a flavoring and medicine due to its enzymes and unique compounds. Just like onions, garlic is also easy to incorporate in numerous recipes. Garlic can be added to an aioli dip, bread, stew, or paired with prawns, mushrooms, or chicken. 

5. Ginger 

Ginger is a good source of antioxidants, which help decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Ginger is as versatile as onion and garlic because it can be used in loaves, cakes, and recipes like braised beef or stir-fried pork. You can even make ginger beer or tea. 

Fruits and vegetables

Would a cheap grocery list be complete without fresh produce? Here are our most nutritious and yummy picks.

6. Bananas 

One of the most popular fruits, bananas are also easy to eat or pack as an on-the-go snack. Since they’re rich in potassium, bananas help your body balance out sodium. Though bananas are usually eaten raw, they can also be baked or fried. Make banana bread, add it to your oats, or blend it into a smoothie — the possibilities are endless with bananas.

7. Avocados

Avocados help lower your cholesterol and they’re rich in fiber and potassium. They’re healthy enough to eat every day, and it doesn’t always have to be avocado toast. Use avocados to make salsa and sandwiches or top them on pasta or salad. You can even make avocado icing. 

8. Spinach

Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more— that’s what’s in spinach. Spinach also has lutein, which boosts eye health. It is more than a salad ingredient, too. Creamed spinach, spinach and artichoke casserole, and spinach-stuffed salmon are just a few recipes that can make this superfood even more exciting.

9. Beans

Whether you buy them canned or dried, beans (e.g., black beans) are the ultimate pantry stable. They’re full of protein and minerals such as zinc and iron. Canned beans are quite salty so they should be rinsed before eating. Beans can be added to stews, salads, and soups. They can even be used as filling for tacos or burritos. 

Proteins

If you’re looking for extra sources of protein, fish, and eggs are a good option. Meanwhile, tofu is a reliable protein source for those on a plant-based diet.

10. Tuna or salmon

Fish has a lot of healthy fats, so it’s the preferable animal-based protein source. Canned tuna contains lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. So, tuna is beneficial to your brain and heart. If you have the budget for it, you can opt for a salmon filet. Add tuna or salmon to a sandwich, casserole, or salad. Canned tuna can be eaten with crackers. 

11. Eggs

Eggs are great because they’re used in a wide range of nutritious recipes, from entrees to desserts. The egg white and yolk are both rich in nutrients but most of the protein is in the egg white while the yolk contains vitamins D and E. If you’re vegetarian, they’re the best source of extra proteins. 

12. Tofu

You should always write tofu on your cheap, vegan grocery list because it’s so easy to use in any dish. Often used as a meat substitute, you can use tofu to make sausages, burgers, curry, lasagna, and basically anything. Tofu can even be added to a smoothie, too. It’s a complete source of dietary protein, just like eggs. 

Final tips for healthy, budget-friendly shopping

Let’s end our cheap grocery list with some budget-friendly shopping tips:

  • Make a meal plan and grocery list so you can do grocery shopping faster and within your budget. When you can’t get groceries yourself, apps like Farmstead can deliver fresh and affordable groceries to your doorstep.
  • Buy whole foods instead of processed foods as much as you can.
  • Pick fruits and vegetables that are in season to guarantee freshness and savings.
  • Buy canned and frozen produce so you can stock up and always have something to prepare. This helps you avoid midweek trips to the store and unhealthy or impractical impulse purchases. Get canned items that have low sodium and no added sugar to keep your food choices healthy.


A practical mindset, good planning, and new technology can aid us in balancing our need for hearty meals and robust savings. Farmstead is a grocery delivery app that offers a healthy and affordable selection of food, helping you stick to your budget without sacrificing nutrition. Sign up now and enjoy zero delivery fees plus exciting promos, like 5% off each product you buy again!