Whether you’re grocery shopping for one or trying to feed a large family, the bills can really add up—especially if you’re trying to make healthy choices. Wild salmon and organic produce aren’t cheap! But don’t despair because you’re on a budget; there are plenty of good-for-you items that offer a big nutritional bang for your buck.
Here are 8 expert picks to add to your cart today from Prevention!
1. Skinless chicken thighs
They’re a good source of lean protein and a main ingredient for meals ranging from stir-fries to salads and stews. “Not only are skinless thighs a lot cheaper than breasts, they’re more flavorful and easier to cook because they don’t dry out as readily,” says Monica Reinagel, a nutritionist and author of Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet.
2. Cod and haddock
Fish is known for having tons of health benefits, but buying wild salmon and king crab legs can empty your bank account in a hurry. Reinagel suggests cod as a healthy and budget-friendly choice: It’s loaded with vitamin B12, iodine, and selenium. “Canned chunk light tuna is another bargain,” she says. “It’s also much lower in mercury than white tuna.”
3. Frozen produce
Most of us could use more fruit and vegetables in our daily diet, and one affordable way to fit them in is to opt for the frozen variety (and sadly, that doesn’t mean strawberry ice cream). “Frozen fruits and vegetables are a no-brainer,” Reinagel says. “They’re just as nutritious or more so than fresh,” because they’re packed at their peak. And there’s virtually no waste because they can stay frozen for a long time—no more discovering moldy fruit in your fridge’s produce drawer weeks after you bought it.
“They’re an inexpensive source of lean protein, taking the place of pricier poultry, meat, or fish in dishes like soups, stews, and chilis,” says Joy Bauer, RDN, a health and nutrition expert for NBC’s Today show and author of From Junk Food to Joy Food. She notes that both canned and dried beans are heart-healthy, and that a recent study shows they may help you lose weight.