Inexpensive Healthful Nourishment / Cheap Healthy Food

Can you recommend any nutrient-rich, cheap foods?

Since moving to Mississippi I want to cry whenever I go food shopping. The amount we spend on food has increased since moving to a cheaper area, and I am not pleased. I know it’s important to eat well, but when money is tight it just feels wrong to spend a lot on food.

In order to save money I have re-examined what we are eating and the result so far is more healthful (if less fun) food. Here are three foods that we eat almost every day:


Lentils are one of the staples of my diet. When we started dating, Josh had to learn to like them. We not only eats lentils in delicious curries, salads, and soups; most days Josh will have sprouted lentils for snacks. I still prefer my lentils cooked, but why kill enzymes if you do not have to?

A half-cup, 80 calorie, serving of lentils provides 10 grams of protein & 11 grams of fiber, along with a healthy dose of B vitamins, iron, and other vitamins and minerals that I do not care about since I get so much. ;-)

And the real reason that lentils have been at the core of my diet since I moved out of my parents’ house? Lentils typically cost around a dollar a pound. Josh preferred ramen, but I think that lentils are the ultimate cheap college food.

Millet is the the new love of my food life. Prior to October I had only tasted millet as the barely cooked, crunchy seed that made me wonder who thought to sift it out of birdseed & eat it!

Then one day I dumped a few cups of millet in with lentils and let it simmer for hours. The result was amazing. With a lot of celery and onions and herbs I found myself with dish as delightful as my grandmother’s Thanksgiving stuffing. Not that I remember my grandmother actually stuffing a turkey, but I am feel that millet is just as good, and I am confident that it is more nutrient dense!

I have not experimented much with millet because I love it so much as a dressing substitute, but I have a feeling that my love will only grow with time and new recipe ideas. ::dreamy sigh::

Flaxseeds entered my life in the form of flaxseed oil. Within a month or so my pain had lessened noticeably and flax was here to stay. But flaxseed oil is expensive, so I soon replaced it with a coffee grinder and flaxseeds bought in bulk. Each week I grind a pound and put it in the freezer to be used in smoothies, bread, or any time I want to experiment with an egg substitute.

It may take a lot of ground flaxseeds to make a difference in the way that you feel, but at $2.00/lb, it is not going to break the bank.

Please enlighten me if you know any great foods that I should try. And if you have recipies for using lentils, millet, or flaxseeds you simply must share!

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7 thoughts on “Inexpensive Healthful Nourishment / Cheap Healthy Food

  1. Christy

    Have you read the book “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition” by Marilyn M. Shannon? It was recommended to us at our NFP course – I haven’t yet had the time to plow through it, only glance. It suggests foods/vitamins for specific problems, but, even better to me – it tells you WHY. Then you can use the information to make other changes. I know that doesn’t help with your dilemma of finding it cheap, but thought I would recommend a resource that was recommended to us!

    1. Rae Post author

      I read it a few years ago and was probably too critical. I know that there is a newer edition out, so hopefully some of the issues have been fixed. I will have to check into it again at some point.

  2. Erin

    This is really helpful. Can you list a few recipes you use these in? I always hear about these ingredients, but I don’t really know how to use them. I’ve recently started having Quinoa in a few meals – yummy!

  3. Paperwhite

    A Japanese food called Nattō is supposed to be a very healthy food.ō
    You can find this food at any Japanese food store. There is one problem on this food, though.
    Because it is fermented soy beans, it smells really, really bad and very slimy.
    I tried to eat it when I was a kid in Japan (I am a Japanese). No way. Then, I tried it again after moving to US. I finally could eat it. Getting older made me tolerate the texture and smell.

    Also Nattō has high iron content. Good for your next blood donation.

  4. Elisa

    Hi Rae. Thanks for visiting my blog. I had to laugh at this post because I don’t like spending money on groceries either! If I had some land I’d grow everything myself and save the seeds =) I like quinoa, but I don’t think it’s super cheap. I found it at a farmer’s market.

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