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What are Some Cheap Healthy Foods? Cheap Healthy Foods With Preparation Ideas

"Healthy food is expensive!" "It cost a lot of money to eat healthy food." I hear that all the time. You can also do a quick google search of cheap healthy foods, and you will come up with a decent amount of foods you an add to your shopping list. So, why do people think healthy food is expensive? Or, is there something wrong with the cheap healthy food lists that are available?

Often, when my patients talk about healthy foods, they are talking about foods that are promoted as health foods. They are talking about superfoods powders, protein bars, and alternate grain bread products. Those are very expensive. When I talk about healthy foods, I am referring to the boring stuff: oatmeal, beans, apples, bananas, eggs, yogurt, and sweet potatoes. Those are fairly affordable.

There is a certain allure of "health food." Its advertising seems to tell us as consumers that if we eat this food, we to will have a wonderful, peaceful, and relaxing life in which we start every day with yoga, proceed to a smoothie bar for breakfast, and then end the day in a warm sudsy bubble bath. They are selling an image. That image is expensive.

Most things that are worthwhile take effort. There is no food, not even an expensive health food, that will, by itself, fix any health problem or make your life blissful. Healthy food does require some level of effort. It is also not glamorous.

That leads to the next challenge of healthy food. Healthy food is not as immediately crave-worthy as many packaged health foods that taste like snack foods. Oatmeal may invoke images of lukewarm, tasteless, lumpy cereal, and broccoli may make you think of that vegetable that has been boiled so long it turned grey. No one wants to eat that. There is never a reason to eat healthy food that is unpleasant. Healthy food can and should taste good.

Here are some ways to prepare cheap healthy foods that are delicious and can add variety to your meals.

chickpea salad

Cheap Healthy Food Preparation Ideas


  • Use steel cut oats for a chewier texture that is more appealing to some, rather than instant or quick oats.

  • Mix in a large spoonful of natural peanut butter and a small spoonful baking cocoa for a decadent, though not sweet, dish.

  • Top with unsweetened applesauce and chopped nuts.

  • Try savory oats: add in everything but the bagel seasoning or another seasoning mix.

  • Add more textures to your bowl with lentils, chia seeds, nuts, or diced avocado.


  • Cut into wedges keeping the core intact, and roast in a single layer with oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with tahini for extra flavor.

  • Shred cabbage with carrots, add a vinaigrette, and top with salted nuts for a bright salad.

  • Cook chopped cabbage in a pot with meatballs and tomato sauce for a version of unstuffed cabbage. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Dried Chickpeas

  • After cooking, use to make homemade hummus.

  • Use in a soup: add onions, carrots, celery, and broth or soup bouillon.

  • Make a marinated salad by adding diced colored peppers, cucumbers, scallions, and a vinaigrette.

  • After cooking, roast them with oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.

Eating Cheap Healthy Foods

While there might be many lists of cheap healthy foods on the internet, it takes more than a list of raw ingredients to make a healthy dish that also tastes delicious. Use these ideas to make cheap healthy foods.

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1 Comment

Jan 04

These are great ideas that I need to try! Thank you!


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