Top 10 Cheap Yet Healthy Foods to Eat When You’re Broke


Just like there are two sides of a coin, we all go through both good and bad times. Financial stability is not something that you can be sure of, as circumstances can leave you trying to stretch every penny or worse, filing bankruptcy.

No matter how bad your financial condition, it is important to eat healthy as “health is wealth”. When you are healthy from within, you are better able to fight off any situation and reestablish yourself to a secure financial position.

On the other hand, if you end up with health problems during a period of financial difficulty, you are simply adding more to your list of worries. Medical costs are high and dealing with it will break you down more.

So, when you are broke, it becomes even more important to take care of your health. Eating healthy and getting regular physical exercise will help a lot. Exercise will not cost anything, and the cost of eating healthy can be minimal if you plan wisely.

There are many affordable, healthy foods that offer great benefits for your body.

Cheap Yet Healthy Foods to Eat When You're Broke

Here are the top 10 cheap yet healthy foods to eat when you’re broke.

1. Bananas



Cost: About 59 cents per fruit.

When you are broke, bananas are one fruit that you can consume daily.

This inexpensive fruit is one of the best sources of potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain a proper water balance in the body as well as regulating blood pressure. This mineral is also needed for muscle strength, nerve functioning, better digestion and proper kidney functioning.

A 2014 study published in the journal Stroke reports that potassium intake is associated with a lower risk of strokes, including ischemic strokes, as well as all-cause mortality in older women, particularly those who are not hypertensive.

Along with potassium, bananas are also a good source of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.

Bananas are good for those who do regular exercise. A 2012 study published in PLOS ONE highlights the benefits of bananas as greater than that of sports drinks.

Previously, a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Cancer reported that regular intake of bananas aids in cutting the risk of kidney cancer.

You can eat bananas as a whole fruit or blend bananas with yogurt or milk to make a healthy and filling smoothie. You can also eat oatmeal with banana slices for a tasty breakfast.

2. Greek Yogurt


Cost: $1.25 to $2 per small tub.

Greek yogurt is another cheap food that can fit any budget. It contains several nutrients that support good health.

It is packed with much higher protein than regular yogurt and is also a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

Another benefit is that it contains good bacteria that support digestive health.

A 2015 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition reports that yogurt intake improves gut health. It even reduces chronic inflammation by enhancing innate and adaptive immune responses, intestinal barrier function and lipid profiles, and by regulating appetite.

It is even good for brain health. In a 2013 study published in Gastroenterology, researchers reported that women who consumed probiotic yogurt displayed a higher degree of cognitive responsiveness in their brains as compared to those who consumed non-fermented yogurt or no yogurt at all.

Not just gut and brain health, yogurt even reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. A 2014 study published in BMC Medicine reports that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and total dairy consumption are not appreciably associated with incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

You can eat Greek yogurt topped with some fruit as a healthy breakfast or use it to make a filling smoothie. You can even use it to make marinades, dressings and dips, and you can use it in place of heavy cream, mayonnaise or sour cream in various recipes.

3. Oats

oatmeal breakfast

Cost: $2.69 to $4.29 for a canister or bag.

Oats are cereal grains that can provide plenty of nutrients without making much of a hole in your pocket.

Being high in fiber and protein but low in fat, eating oats daily is a sure and safe way to lower cholesterol. A 2008 report by researchers at the University of Kentucky shows the connection between eating oatmeal and a lower cholesterol level. It even reduces the risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Plus, the beta-glucan compounds in it slow the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body. This is why it helps people feel full for a longer time. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports that oatmeal improves appetite control and increases satiety. The effects may be attributed to the viscosity and hydration properties of its beta-glucan content.

Oats are also a good source of thiamin, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese.

Eating whole grains like oats is associated with up to 15 percent lower mortality, particularly cardiovascular disease-related mortality, according to a 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Bring new life to your breakfast table during your difficult days by eating a healthy bowl of oatmeal. You can soak oats in milk or some fruit juice overnight for a quick breakfast fix in the morning.

4. Eggs

egg breakfast

Cost: $2 to $5 per dozen, depending on what types of eggs you prefer.

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, even if your budget is tight.

They are one of the few foods that contain all nine essential amino acids and are also rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5.

A 2000 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition says that eggs are the changing face of functional foods as they are an excellent dietary source of many essential and non-essential components that may promote optimal health.

Eggs are particularly rich in choline. A 2009 study published in Nutrition Reviews reports that choline is an essential nutrient and plays a key role in metabolism, from cell structure to neurotransmitter synthesis. In fact, choline deficiency is now thought to have an impact on diseases such as liver disease, atherosclerosis and, possibly, neurological disorders.

According to the American Optometric Association, eggs are a good source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) and cataracts.

Hard-boiled eggs or an omelet make a great breakfast food. You can even incorporate eggs into your dinner meals in the form of scrambled eggs with some crunchy vegetables.

5. Spinach


Cost: About $2 for a prepackaged bag.

This dark green leafy vegetable is another cost-effective food that you can buy by spending just a little money.

Spinach is loaded with nutrients like calcium and potassium, and is high in vitamins including vitamins A and K. While vitamin A is needed for healthy skin and hair, vitamin K ensures strong bones. Plus, the high fiber and water content in spinach is good for your digestive system.

Other nutrients in it are iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, copper and nitrates. Being low in calories, spinach is simply excellent for people seeking to lose weight.

A 2011 study published in Cell Metabolism reports that spinach supports muscle health. The nitrates in it make the mitochondria of cells function more efficiently, which is important for muscle health.

The nitric oxide in it opens up the blood vessels to lower blood pressure. Additionally, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach may help remove free radicals from the body and protect your vision from age-related problems.

A glass of spinach juice with a little lemon juice is a great start to your day. You can also add spinach to salads or add some into your morning smoothie for added benefits. It can also be cooked lightly and eaten as a side dish.

6. Canned Tuna

canned tuna

Cost: $2 to $5 for a can.

Those who love seafood and are going through budget difficulties can enjoy canned tuna from time to time. Canned tuna is inexpensive as well as tasty and healthy, too.

Canned tuna is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy unsaturated fats that play a key role in improving blood vessel functioning, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also support a healthy brain and promote proper growth and development.

One of the B vitamins found in canned tuna is niacin, which prevents bad cholesterol from being stored as plaque inside artery walls. A 2008 study by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology reports that niacin helps maintain adequate high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels in the blood and thus lowers the risk of heart disease.

It is also a good source of lean protein, which is needed for cell growth, a healthy immune system and for maintaining muscle tissue.

Tuna also contains calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and potassium.

For a quick, easy lunch, simply add canned tuna fish to a salad and dress it with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Another option is to mix tuna with hummus or Greek yogurt for a healthy tuna salad.

Note: Due to its mercury content, pregnant women should limit their consumption of tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week.