20 Cheap Pantry Items You Can Get on a Budget

20 Cheap Pantry Items You Can Get on a Budget

We all know vegetables are an important part of our diet but how many of us actually adhere to that? It might seem like vegetables and fruits are too expensive to incorporate into a daily diet, but that does not need to be the case. While yes, certain veggies might cost more than others, there are lots of budget-friendly options available. Here’s a quick list of some great options to consider for your next grocery trip that won’t hurt your wallet…but will make your next meal taste even better!

1. Beans

Okay, maybe not a vegetable per se, but there is no denying how cheap beans are and what a nutritious punch they pack. Garbanzo, pinto, black, red – so many options too!

2. Bulgur wheat

High-fiber, low-fat and a great substitute for rice, best served as a side with a medley of other vegetables.

3. Apples

Use them in salads, dress them up with some savory veggies as a side or use as a dessert. Apples are almost always on sale, and there are lots of varieties to choose from

4. Bananas

A great breakfast option, bananas are very versatile and can be used in a lot of different breakfast options for something cheap and nutritious. Worried about them going bad fast? Overripened bananas make for great banana bread ingredients!

5. Cabbage

Whether you are having them steamed, raw, or even fried, it’s healthy and delicious. Feeling adventurous? Why not try your hand at making pickled cabbage dishes like kimchi?

6. Baby carrots (or regular)

Technically two vegetables, but still, carrots are incredibly good for you and are easy on the wallet too. You can use them as a side, add them in a salad, or even use for desserts for something easy and nutritious.

7. Eggs

If you are looking for ways to add more protein to your diet without driving up costs, look no further than eggs. They can be incorporated to all kinds of meals from breakfast to dinner, and need very little prep…but still provide a lot of nutrients.

8. Peanuts

Snacking habits tend to be a reason for higher grocery bills, so why not look for some healthy and cheap alternatives? Next time you are thinking of reaching for a bag of chips, swap for a bag of peanuts. Salted or plain, it’s a crunchy snack that’s better for you.

9. Lentils

Beans, legumes, and lentils are all known for their incredible amount of protein and nutrients as well as for their low prices. Lentils can be used across different meat dishes as a savory side, or a way to jazz up rice dishes with an extra burst of nutrition.

10. Oats

Another cheap breakfast option, giant bags of oats can be a cost-effective breakfast option. You can make porridge, roll oats for flapjacks, or create granola mixtures as well without spending too much.

11. Garlic

The perfect addition to most meals, there are not many food items out there that beat garlic when it comes to taste, flavor, and cost! Some fresh garlic goes well with a lot of different cuisines such as Asian and Italian, or you can use it as an ingredient for marinades and sauces as well.

12. Canned tomatoes

While fresh tomatoes are always an option, they often turn out to be pretty costly…especially when they rot. Canned tomatoes are a great alternative in that scenario since it still has a similar nutritional value but provides a bit more for the money. Think of it as an easy pantry item you can use across a variety of dishes.

13. Onions

If you think about it, just with some garlic, canned tomatoes and onions, you already have the makings of a great pasta sauce. But otherwise, onions have a lot of different vitamins and minerals that are good for you, and they can be incredibly cheap and easy to store over time.

14. Sweet peppers

For a burst of flavor (and vitamins) sweet peppers such as red, yellow, and orange are the way to go. They go great as a side, or mixed with rice and other kinds of wheat, and are incredibly cheap.

15. Winter squash

A bit more experimental, but also easy on the wallet. Winter squash is a great hearty vegetable you can use in soups, salads, and savory dishes that gives a great flavor and texture without costing too much.

16. Kale

Baked, fried, or raw, kale is really the go-to vegetable for everything. Cheap and easy to use, you can use it to make a healthy batch of kale chips, or put it towards healthy shakes and salads.

17. Beets

Perhaps a bit underused, which is all the more the reason to start thinking about them more in your meals. Tasty and flavorful, this is a cheap vegetable that can be served in a lot of different dishes when you want to jazz up a meal.

18. Spinach

Incredibly cheap and packed with nutrients, spinach can’t be beaten. You can serve it raw, steam it or blanch it for a flavorful addition to your meal that has loads of iron and vitamins. Goes great as a side for dinner, or in omelets for breakfast.

19. Sweet potatoes

Often overlooked for potatoes, sweet potatoes are a delicious vegetable that is incredibly versatile. You can bake them, make sweet potato fries, or steam them for an excellent side dish or snack. Plus, they are quite large, which makes them easy to store and use for when you are cooking for more people.

20. Edamame

Edamame is another vegetable that you do not see used as often but is great for your wallet. For your next snack, why not get some edamame with a light touch of salt? Packed with fiber and protein, this is a great snack that won’t make you feel guilty.

As always, this is not an exhaustive list of the cheap vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans and lentils that are available. Think of this as inspiration to look for new recipes, try new food, and expand your palate without it costing you a fortune. Incorporating these foods into your diet ensures that you are eating balanced, nutritious meals without spending too much money.