Top 7 Foods under $1

by zesty on June 22, 2011 · 18 comments

Can we eat healthy and not break the bank?  A couple of years ago I wrote an article about grocery prices going out of control and I still believe that is the case.  Over the past couple of years especially with all the world issues, food prices have not reduced in many areas. With that said, there are still some great foods that will not break the bank and offer you lots of nutrition.  I compiled a list of my top 7, added some links to foods recipes I have made using these ingredients and I would love for you to add other ones you may think of just in the comments section.

Foods under $1 Per Serving

1.  Oats

oatmeal High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.

Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with nuts and fruit in the morning, make oatmeal cookies for dessert.

2.  Eggs

egg You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein.

Serving suggestions: Poached Eggs for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and leftover eggs for dinner.

3.  Kale

kale This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.

Serving suggestions: Chop up some kale and add to your favorite stir-fry or pasta dish or KALE chips.

4.  Potatoes

Because we often see potatoes at their unhealthiest—as fries or chips—we don’t think of them as nutritious, but they definitely are. Eaten with the skin on, potatoes contai potatoes n almost half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium. If you opt for sweet potatoes or yams, you’ll also get a good wallop of beta carotene. Plus, they’re dirt cheap and have almost endless culinary possibilities.

Serving suggestions: Try Easy Breakfast Potatoes; sweet potato fries for dinner, or baked potatoes.

5.  Apples

apple I’m fond of apples because they’re inexpensive, easy to find, come in portion-controlled packaging, and taste good. They are a good source of pectin—a fiber that may help reduce cholesterol—and they have the antioxidant Vitamin C, which keeps your blood vessels healthy.

Serving suggestions: Plain; as applesauce; or in baked goods like Apple Granola Muffins.

6.  Bananas

bananas At a local grocery store, I found bananas for about 19¢ apiece; a dollar gets you a banana a day for the workweek. High in potassium and fiber (9 grams for one), bananas are a no-brainer when it comes to eating your five a day quotient of fruits and veggies.

Serving suggestions: In smoothies, by themselves, in cereal and yogurt or of course banana bread.

7.  Beans

57283654 With beans, you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but ’bonzos are also high in fiber, iron, folate, and manganese, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And if you don’t like one type, try another—black, lima, lentils … the varieties are endless. Though they require soaking and cooking, the most inexpensive way to purchase these beans is in dried form; a precooked can will still only run you around a buck.

Serving suggestions: In salads, by themselves, or even in dips.

Let me know your thoughts on this as I really think it a a valuable post just to reiterate to you that we can still eat healthy and cut costs.  Have a great day and add your comments and tell me some other food items.

Take care


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shelby

Oats + Kale + Apples + Beans = Some of my favorite foods!


2 Kitty

Green smoothie- Kale+banana+apple with water, blend and enjoy as a super healthy energy boost


3 Meg

#1 Oatmeal is my absolute fave! Love this post!


4 Lynn

Great post!


5 Sarah (lovINmytummy)

I would throw in tofu and cottage cheese, yogurt and milk for the non-vegan crew.

Great post, Zestmaster!


6 Jean

Kale and small white beans simmered for a while in chicken broth is my all time favorite meal. Thanks for all the other low cost suggestions – all things I love anyway – how nice they are frugal, too! Don’t forget the old standby of pasta – throw pretty much anything on it and you have a meal!


7 Melissa @ For the Love of Health

What a great post! I love facts like those!


8 Pearl

i should buy some kale and try it; i’ve never tasted that leafy vegetable before!


9 Gabi


Great post – in fact if I look at your list I cannot help but reminding myself that it all comes from the fields! All natural, baby!

No processed food, whatsoever! A whole world survived like this for generations!

Not to speak that you have about 95% of all nutrients needed right there!!

Excellent post!!!!

Gabi @ Mamaliga.


10 Jess

Brown rice!


11 Marianne

I think they are all good choices, but I can’t say I can buy any of the items you have on there for the prices you listed (6 eggs run about $1.50, bananas are $.78/lb, kale is $1.50 – $2 per bunch). Still cheap, but not quite that cheap ;)


12 zesty

Marianne – Do note that these prices are per serving


13 Jena

I’m in Marianne’s boat–we pay $3.50-$5.00/doz eggs. I don’t even think I’ve seen half-dozen options in the store here, and frankly, I prefer, if I’m spending that kind of money on eggs anyway, to buy from the farmer’s market. Of course, if you’re lucky, you can find what you want at the farmer’s market anyway, where it tends to be cheaper (or on par with)–and better–than grocery store selection.


14 Lauren

Great post – I have these staples on hand every day!


15 Erin from long island

Prices here are also a bit different. My top cheapo staples are dried lentils and chickpeas
cabbage (soo healthy and only 29 cents a pound!)
white and wheat flour for breads, tortillas, parathas, pitas, etc
whole grains (bought in bulk) like barley, bulgur, etc
roots n tubers (potatoes, yams, beets…)
and best of all..
FREE stuff growing in my yard (including edible weeds)


16 Dynamics

You cannot beat the price all around. Walking outside to shop is my preference.


17 Jamie

Cheap, healthy and delicious. Throw in some garlic and an onion for some of it, maybe a little milk for the others, and you have a zillion combinations of great dishes!



Egg & Kale Scramble/Omelet sounds pretty good right now!


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