10 Cheap Essentials In Every Healthy Pantry
Routinely getting your weekly food shop down to a reasonable price is something I consider an art form. Filling your basket with items you consider to be healthy is all well and good, but often it’s a little more spenno than predicted when you get to check out. Cheap and healthy? Now we’re talking.
No need to compromise your diet or your bank account if you keep a pantry, fridge and freezer stocked with these inexpensive and healthy staple ingredients.
Here are ten to get you started.
A side of veg goes well with almost every meal and it seems regardless of what they’re on the side of, veg makes us feel like we’re the epitome of health. The schnitty doesn’t count if it’s with a side of veg, yeah?
The the convenience of always having a bag of frozen veg in the freezer is unbeatable, and they’re cheap as chips. A lot of people believe frozen veggies are less nutritious than the stuff in the fruit and veggie aisle, but research carried out by I Quit Sugar has found the frozen stuff is better. Who knew!
I don’t know how many times I’ve felt dead at the end of the day and have opted for eggs on toast or an omelette rather than cooking a real dinner. Delicious, nutritious, full of protein… plus, breakfast food is the greatest and if you think otherwise, you’re wrong.
Have a look around though – free-range eggs cost a couple of dollars extra, but taste better and you’re supporting chooks having plenty of room to play and peck.
If you don’t use pesto, do yourself a flavour and get amongst it – it’s bloody delicious, healthy and inexpensive. It’s literally just basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts.
Yeah, it’s got oil and nuts, which are higher in calories but it’s all unsaturated fats. Tossed through a pasta or salad makes for a low-cost and delicious meal. A jar can carry you through a bunch of different dinners.
Canned tuna has been there for me, man. It’s seen me through the good times and more often, the bad times (when I have no money).
In all seriousness, it’s like $2 a can and a tasty protein stand-in. Best of all it can stay in the cupboard for a good while before you’ll need to replace it.
Tuna is rich in omega-3, which is super useful in maintaining healthy heart function and actually increases the concentration of good cholesterol in the body and suppresses the occurrence of blood clots.
We all know fruit is good for us and a summertime smoothie is hard to beat. This is why a bag of frozen berries chucked in the freezer is essential. Use them in a drink, on top of breakfasts or as a solo snack – yum.
If you have an insatiable hunger – like me – rice is probably one of your best mates in the kitchen.
It’s cheap, and like most things, good for you in moderation. I’m not saying to eat mounds of rice for every meal because gross, but it’s a perfectly fine way to bulk up your favourite foods.
Baked beans and I have a chequered past. During my skint uni I would have baked beans on toast for dinner sometimes up to four times a week.
They’re good in toasties, on toast with eggs, or even just by themselves and are packed with fibre, protein and antioxidants. It’s good to opt for reduced sugar and salt cans though, as hidden sugars and salts are rife in canned goods.
Cabbage isn’t the sexiest of foods by far, but is secretly really tasty if you prepared correctly. Cabbage soup, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style doesn’t sound very appetising does it? But roasted, in a salad, in a stir-fry or in coleslaw and cabbage becomes super deliciously healthy.
Lentils and beans
Whether it’s chickpeas, mixed beans or pear barley, beans and lentils are ingredients perfect for bulking up a dish. If I am making spaghetti Bolognese, I always chuck in a full tin of mixed beans – it makes it go so much farther.
Likewise, throwing a tin of chickpeas in a salad is always a delicious addition.
Tomatoes are arguably the most versatile fruit – you can eat them for every meal if you want to.
On a sandwich, in a salad, roasted or in a soup – the list goes on. They’re never going to set you back very much either, whether they’re on the vine or in the can.
Be smart next trip to the shops and stock yourself up with these healthy staples.
Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.