The 7 Most Versatile Food Staples Under $3We have all kinds of grocery stores around my neighborhood. I could shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or a large chain grocery store. Wherever I shop, there are a few staples that are always healthy and always inexpensive. At under $3 per item, these 7 staples make a great foundation for many healthy, budget-friendly family meals.
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Edamame 1. Edamame
I recently discovered edamame. A 12-ounce bag, shelled or in the pods, costs $2.50. I use it as a pre-dinner snack, but it can also be used for all kinds of healthy snacks and side dishes!
Make Edamame Hummus
1 1/2 cup edamame, shelled, cooked and cooled
2 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahnini or sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt to taste
In a food processor, pulse the first six ingredients together until very well blended. Keep pulsing the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil, until the consistency of the dip is soft but not drippy. Salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!
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Bagged Spinach 2. Bagged Spinach
A 9-ounce bag of spinach is $2.99, and sometimes even less with a coupon. I use it to make nutritious salads, wilt it as a base for fish, or even chop and add it to soups.
Make a spinach, tangerine, and fennel salad
Brown Rice 3. Brown Rice
A 32-ounce bag of rice costs $2.39. This can easily feed our family of three for at least six meals. I use it for everything from making fried rice bowls, serving with grilled chicken, or stuffing peppers and eggplant.
7 things to make with brown rice
Related: The 25 healthiest foods under $1
Canned Tuna 4. Canned Tuna
A quality 5-ounce can of tuna costs a mere $1.65. There are so many ways to use it, plus you can store it for later. My family's favorite recipe is tuna salad.
10 meals to make with a can of tuna
Eggs 5. Eggs
One egg costs $0.25. Of course, I usually buy a half-dozen, but since I eat one for lunch with a slice of whole wheat bread, I know I'm getting a good deal. A single slice of toast and one egg makes a $0.36 meal!
Make baked eggs in avocado
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Dried Lentils 6. Dried Lentils
Some grocery stores don't have a bulk grain aisle, but you can still get basic grains at good prices. A 16-ounce bag of dried lentils costs around $0.85, and I can use that to make at least two batches of soup that feed four people each.
Make vegan chili with dried lentils
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Whole Wheat Pasta7. Whole Wheat Pasta
A 13.2-ounce box of whole wheat pasta costs about $1.50. I usually buy two boxes in different shapes because we eat it all the time! Our favorite way to serve it is tossed with fresh vegetables.
Make whole wheat pasta with kale
- By Kelsey Banfield
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