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Healthy Grocery List on a Budget: 31 Items

Planning a healthy grocery list helps ensure that your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy ingredients, all while sticking to a tight budget!

Let’s face it, the economy isn’t doing anyone any favors these days. Eating healthy while sticking to a budget is more difficult than ever, especially for families!

Grabbing new ingredients for unplanned meals can quickly push your grocery costs to new heights. So, it’s important to carefully plan out your list to be as flexible and robust as possible.

Thankfully, you’re in the right place for that! I’m diving into thirty-one of my favorite healthy grocery list items for families on a budget.

Healthy Grocery List Items to buy

1. Frozen Veggies

frozen veggies

Many people think that frozen vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones, but that isn’t true!  Frozen vegetables are often cheaper and easier to access than fresh vegetables.

They’re also quick and easy to work with, which makes them ideal if you’re cooking in a rush. Keep it healthy and budget-friendly by keeping your freezer well-stocked.

Even frozen veggies can help boost your immune system!

2. Eggs


Eggs are unique because they’re packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’re one of the cheapest ingredients you can access that still have such a well-rounded nutrition profile.

They’re also versatile! Enjoy them scrambled, boiled, fried, or poached as part of a larger meal.

3. Chickpeas


Next up, chickpeas! Affordable and nutrient-dense, chickpeas are a versatile legume that adds a hearty texture and flavor to meals. It’s one of the best things you can keep in your pantry.

Whether you want to roast them for a crunchy snack, blend them into creamy hummus, or add them to soups and salads, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein.

4. Tofu


I’m a huge fan of tofu. I can’t lie. It’s just so versatile. Rich in protein, iron, and calcium, tofu can be stir-fried, grilled, or baked to perfection. This will absorb all your favorite flavors.

Add tofu to stir-fries, salads, or sandwiches for a budget-friendly boost of plant-based protein.

5. Bananas


Nature’s perfect snack, bananas are affordable, nutrient-dense, and delicious. Get your daily dose of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

Grab a bunch of ripe bananas to enjoy on their own, blend into smoothies, or slice atop oatmeal and yogurt. This is a budget-friendly way to add sweetness and nutrition to your diet.

6. Kidney Beans

kidney beans

Kidney beans are a lot like chickpeas, in that they’re an economical source of protein and fiber. These are undoubtedly a pantry staple that can be used in a variety of dishes.

From adding them to chili to bulking out salads, kidney beans provide a hearty texture and earthy flavor. The heavy protein ensures you’ll stay fuller for longer.

7. Canned Tuna

canned tuna

Next up, one of my favorites, and an essential on any budget-friendly grocery list. Canned tuna is a versatile ingredient that you can use in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and more.

This is extra healthy because it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Who knew something so unassuming could be so good for you?

8. Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

Nutrient-rich and budget-friendly, sweet potatoes are a delicious and versatile vegetable at home in many different recipes.

Roast them as a side dish, mash them as a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes, or add them to soups and stews for a pop of color and sweetness.

Check out more high protein fruits!

9. Rice


There are many different kinds of rice, but the most affordable choices are white or brown rice. Affordable and rich in carbohydrates, these make meals extra filling.

You can use rice as a side dish or as a part of the main meal. The most important thing is to supplement it with plenty of protein and vegetables.

10. Salsa


Next up, salsa! While fresh salsa is delicious, jarred salsa is a great alternative you can keep in your fridge for a long time. This is a budget-friendly snack option as well as a great condiment.

Whether used as a dip for veggies, a topping for tacos, or a sauce for grilled meats and fish, salsa adds zest and spice to make any meal better.

11. Frozen Fruit

frozen fruit

Much like frozen vegetables, frozen fruit provides a great way to access ripe fruit in a more affordable way. It’s just as good for you and doesn’t run the risk of going off over time.

Each bag is frozen to lock in flavor and nutrients, making it a smart choice for any budget-conscious shopper.

Fruits are an excellent superfood to boost your diet!

12. Oatmeal


Oatmeal is a well-known budget-friendly breakfast staple. But it’s not just good on your wallet. Rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, oatmeal is a deliciously nutritious wholegrain.

It’s also very versatile! Enjoy it in smoothies, as a savory meal, or the classic warm bowl of oatmeal for a comforting breakfast.

13. Lentils


There’s a reason lentils feature so heavily in vegetarian dishes. This is an inexpensive way to get protein into your diet without shelling out for meat, and it’s super versatile.

Add a can of lentils to a soup, stew, salad, or curry to bulk up the texture and earthiness. The cans keep for a long time, and dried lentils are even better if you can be bothered soaking them.

14. Ground Turkey

ground turkey

If you’re dead set on having meat on your grocery list, ground turkey can be a great choice. Lean and budget-friendly, this is a delicious source of protein you can use in many ways.

Usually, if you see a recipe that calls for beef, pork, or chicken, ground turkey will easily swap in. Try it for burger patties, meatballs, stir-fries, and more.

15. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese

The secret to budget-friendly shopping is to pick ingredients that pack as much of a punch as possible. Literally, finding bang for your buck! That’s why cottage cheese is such a good choice.

Packed with protein and low in fat, cottage cheese is a budget-friendly dairy option. Enjoy it on its own, or incorporate it into a full-blown meal. Like any spread, it’s useful in many ways. 

16. Almond Milk

almond milk

If you find the right brand, almond milk can be a budget-friendly option if you’re looking to reduce your dairy intake. It’s smooth, nutty, and packed with plenty of nutrients.

Not to mention, almond milk takes longer to go bad than dairy. So, if you only use milk infrequently, this can help you avoid waste.

17. Whole Wheat Pasta

whole wheat pasta

Pasta is a dry goods staple you’ll find in practically every home, and for good reason! Dried, pasta will keep for years, and it’s quite cheap to buy. Wholewheat pasta is even better.

On top of that, you can make many delicious meals with only pasta and a jar of an inexpensive sauce, plus whichever vegetables you happen to have on hand.

18. Canned Tomatoes

canned tomatoes

Here’s a pantry essential. Not only are these convenient, but they’re also nutritious. Rich in lycopene and antioxidants, canned tomatoes are quite food for you!

I love canned tomatoes for their versatility. Crack a can open for your next soup, stew, or sauce to make it deliciously rich. Not to mention, it saves you plenty of time.

19. Black Beans

black beans

Black beans are a fantastic source of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. There’s a reason they’re a staple in the vegetarian community!

If you’re stuck for a protein option that won’t break your budget, pick up a few cans of black beans. They cook in no time and can be used in everything from nachos to burgers.

20. Chicken Thighs

chicken thighs

Of the chicken cuts, thighs are generally accepted as the cheapest, second only to drumsticks. They’re juicy, delicious, and full of essential protein to keep you going.

They also have more fat than chicken breasts, which is ideal if you’re looking for things with a natural flavor. Baked, grilled, sauteed, there are hundreds of ways to enjoy chicken thighs.

21. Onions


Is it any wonder that onions have made the list? They’re a kitchen staple, adding depth and flavor to a wide range of dishes.

In fact, if you’re stuck for ideas, they can even make an entire dish on their own. French onion soup, anyone?

22. Ground Beef

ground beef

Lean ground beef is an excellent protein to have on-hand, especially if you’re shooting for a high protein diet.

The best way to make this an affordable option is to batch-cook your meals, providing yourself with delicious leftovers that will last the entire week.

23. Frozen Shrimp

frozen shrip

Frozen protein like shrimp, is an ideal choice. They’re generally cheaper than fresh shrimp, and they keep for months in the freezer to prevent any waste.

Frozen shrimp thaw quickly, allowing you to use them in everything from stir-fry dishes to pasta dinners.

Shrimp is a great base for many easy high protein meals!

24. Plain Yogurt


I can’t get enough of plain yogurt! Nutritious and versatile, you can use yogurt in everything from your breakfast to a sauce for dinner.

Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium, not to mention the probiotics that help your gut. Avoid the extra fancy brands and stick with the plain flavors for the most versatile, budget-friendly option.

25. Broccoli


Your kids may not love it, but broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse (and an affordable one, at that). Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this green vegetable is a vital part of your diet.

You can use broccoli to stretch a meal further, whether you serve it up on the side or incorporate it into the dish itself. Fried with garlic, it’s heaven on earth.

26. Quinoa


As a member of the grain family, quinoa already has a leg up when it comes to being budget-friendly.

This is a wonderful choice for anyone to have at home, but especially good if you are a vegetarian or vegan.

27. Canned Corn

canned corn

As another essential canned vegetable to have on hand, canned corn allows you to add sweetness and texture to dishes on the fly.

Not to mention, it’s very convenient to use. No peeling or boiling is required. Just rip open a can, and you’re ready to go!

28. Cabbage


Next up, a vegetable that doesn’t always have the best reputation: cabbage. While it doesn’t smell great when boiled, there are a hundred other ways to prepare this affordable vegetable.

Enjoy it raw for some crunch in your salad, or roast it with some garlic for an unforgettable side dish. Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber, this is a worthwhile addition to the list.

29. Canned Chicken

canned chicken

When most people think of canned meats, tuna generally comes to mind first. But canned chicken is another convenient solution that makes eating healthy easier.

Whether you use it on your next salad or dump it into a stew, canned chicken is convenient and budget-friendly.

30. Dry Roasted Peanuts


When it comes to grocery shopping, one of the drivers of a high bill is the need to have good snacks around the house. I don’t know about you, but I need something to munch on!

That’s why dry roasted peanuts work so well. They’re nutritious and budget-friendly. Not to mention, they’re packed with protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied for longer.

31. Apples


On the whole, fruits can be a bit expensive to buy, especially when they’re out of season. That’s why apples are so great if you’re looking to increase your fruit intake.

Available year-round, these fruits are packed with fiber and vitamin C to keep your system happy.

Enjoy them fresh as a snack or sliced and added to oatmeal, salads, or baked goods for natural sweetness or as a healthy snack on the go!

And that’s thirty-one! The key appeal of these ingredients is versatility! Every single one of these grocery items can be used in many different ways.

This makes them ideal for a delicious week of healthy meals. Not to mention, they’re affordable enough to keep your budget in check.

Brainstorm a collection of meals with this budget-friendly grocery list and pick from it as the week goes on. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, something will always be waiting in your pantry!