Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Publish Date June 20, 2024 4 Minute Read

Start by Shopping Smart to Spend Less

Before even setting foot in the grocery store, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need. Having a shopping list makes shopping easier, helps you avoid buying duplicate items and can reduce impulse buys. When putting together a list, it’s good to know which meals you’re going to prepare. Whether you’re testing a new healthy recipe or relying on an easy weeknight go-to, determine what you’ll be making and add the necessary ingredients to your list. And don’t forget to check your weekly ad for deals and digital coupons. Planning meals around items on sale and clipping your digital coupons can help cut costs even further.

When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, frozen and canned options often cost less and last longer. Just be sure to check the sugar content when choosing canned fruit and aim to buy options that come in water or 100% juice. Another way to spend less is to buy in bulk. While there may be a higher initial cost, the per-unit price can be less expensive over time.

How to Get the Most Out of Foods and Meals

Learning various ways to use a single ingredient can cut back on prep time while also keeping meals fun and interesting. For example, you can prepare a package of chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken, then use it in a variety of recipes such as vegetable stir-fry, chicken fajitas, a chicken Caesar wrap or a salad. Another way to get the most out of a meal is by choosing recipes that freeze well. Soups, chilis and casseroles can be prepared in large batches and portioned out for multiple meals. Keep some in the fridge for the week or store in the freezer for the next month.

Budget-friendly Staples

There’s no need to break the bank for a nutritious diet. Plenty of affordable, nutrient-dense foods are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day meals.

Oats – Oats are rich in dietary fiber and offer a good source of several B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron. Making your own oatmeal is a fantastic way to cut costs and avoid added sugars found in flavored packets of oatmeal. Oats can also be added to smoothies, baked goods or used in energy bites.

Legumes – Beans, lentils and chickpeas are all great sources of dietary fiber and provide several vitamins and minerals. They’re plant-based proteins that are naturally low in fat. Legumes are very versatile and nutritious – try them in salads, soups and grain bowls.

Canned Fish – Tuna, salmon and mackerel, just to name a few, are shelf-stable and budget-friendly. They’re packed full of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Canned fish can be used to make a delicious tuna salad, mixed into a casserole or eaten with your favorite salad mix.

Eggs – Small in size, but full of nutrition. Eggs provide protein, vitamins, minerals and choline, making them a highly nutritious food. Choline is an especially vital nutrient and plays a role in many functions within the body. While enjoyed most often at breakfast, eggs can also be used in a variety of other ways.

Whole Grains – Brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat pasta contain all parts of the grain, so they’re full of key nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains can be served as a side, as the base of a grain bowl or tossed into a variety of salads.

Peanut Butter – This pantry staple is full of healthy fats, and it’s a good source of vitamin B6, manganese, copper and antioxidants. Peanut butter offers plant-based protein that can be enjoyed by itself or in savory or sweet recipes.

Healthy Meal Ideas on a Budget

Consuming a balanced meal with at least 3 food groups doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. Sometimes the best meals are made from simple ingredients paired together. Try these simple combinations that are nutritious and easy on the budget.


  • Greek yogurt, frozen berries and granola
  • Whole wheat waffles, peanut butter and a banana


  • Whole wheat toast, avocados, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes
  • Whole wheat tortillas, leftover chicken, canned black beans, canned corn, salsa and cheese


  • Chicken breast, brown rice and frozen stir-fry veggies
  • Whole wheat pasta, turkey meatballs, marinara and frozen broccoli

Whether you’re cooking for 1 or trying to feed a family, preparing healthy meals without breaking the bank can be challenging. Let a Kroger Health registered dietitian help. They can help identify budget-friendly meals, provide guidance on healthy dinner recipes and offer how-tos for prepping and utilizing budget-friendly foods. They can even share recipes that use ingredients you already have on hand. Visit our nutrition page to learn more and get started.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Shop Healthier Budget-friendly Staples

These staples are great to have on hand for delicious and nutritious meals.