8 Nutritious Foods You Can Afford When You’re Practically Broke

free_range_eggsIf there’s one thing we all learned from the crash of 2008, it’s that any one of us could be dragged down into poverty. No one is really immune to that anymore. In the Western world, economic prosperity has been crumbling for years, and stability is rapidly disappearing for a variety reasons. Truth be told, you’ve probably read about countless disasters and survival situations on this website, but the one situation that is most likely to affect you, is a financial calamity in your family.

And if that happens, one of your most pressing concerns will be food. Every resource you consume will have to be restricted, and every day you’ll be forced to triage your finances. You’ll have to choose between paying for your rent/mortgage, utilities, debts, medical bills, and of course groceries. And even if you accept assistance in the form of food stamps, you’ll likely struggle to afford nutritious food.

That’s why I’ve compiled this list of low-cost groceries. Keep in mind however, that this isn’t a list of the cheapest foods. Things like taste or long-term health implications aren’t a priority either. These are foods that simply provide the most nutrients for the least amount of money, and you should keep them in mind if you ever find yourself in the poorhouse.

Butter

In terms of the number of calories you get for every dollar, you can’t beat butter. The only thing that would surpass it is refined sugar, but obviously you don’t want to make that a significant part of your diet. Butter is cheap, and brimming with saturated fats that will keep you sated for hours.

Whole Grain Wheat Flour

Grains have fallen out of favor among health conscious eaters in recent years, and for many very good reasons. But again, long-term health isn’t the priority of this list. Despite its faults, whole grain flour is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and is incredibly cheap. So cheap in fact, that even the organic brands often only cost a few cents per ounce.

The main drawback to wheat, and most grains for that matter, is that they contain phytic acid. This substance is known to prevent the absorption of many different nutrients. However, if you’re planning on using the flour to make bread, pancakes, or even hard tack, you can soak the flour dough in lemon juice overnight, which will eliminate most of the phytic acid.

Eggs

Lately eggs have been pretty expensive due to a rampant avian flu epidemic that wiped out millions of chickens last summer. At one point, prices rose so high that ounce for ounce, the protein in chicken meat was cheaper than egg protein. Most of the time however, eggs provide one of the cheapest sources of protein and fat. However, not always as cheap as…

Whole Milk

While milk can provide plenty of protein, fat, and sugar at a low price, unlike eggs it has far more vitamins and minerals. Milk contains an abundance of vitamin D, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B12, and for minerals, it provides plenty of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and selenium. It also contains a very good ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which eggs do not.

Beans

White beans, Lima beans, Kidney beans etc. They all have a few things in common. They’re usually light in vitamins, rich in minerals, and contain a moderate amount of protein. They aren’t always cheap, but their high shelf life allows you to cut down costs by buying them in bulk.

Canned Salmon

I don’t normally recommend any processed canned foods, but canned salmon is one of those rare foods that are healthier than the fresh version. Aside from being expensive, fresh salmon is usually farmed, which means they are typically contaminated with PCBs, and fed chemicals that turn their flesh pink (which happens naturally in the wild). Canned salmon is almost always caught in the wild, and is usually very affordable. It provides an abundance of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals, and unlike other canned sea food like tuna, the amount of mercury in salmon is negligible.

Bananas

While the cost of groceries has gone up significantly in recent years, bananas are still remarkably cheap. They also contain a well-rounded dose of nutrients like vitamins C and B6, as well as minerals like magnesium and potassium. Contrary to popular belief, bananas don’t contain the most potassium (see beans above) but they are one of the cheapest ways to consume that mineral. Though most westerners aren’t aware of this, you can actually eat the banana peel as well if it’s properly prepared, which will double your potassium intake.

Beef Liver

There’s no doubt that the taste and texture of liver renders it unpalatable to most people. Unless you grew up eating it, there’s a good chance that you will absolutely hate beef liver. However, the widespread unpopularity of liver means that it’s usually pretty affordable. The nutrient profile of this organ is also amazing. It might give you the best bang for your buck, compared to everything else on this list.

In fact, some of the nutrients in beef liver are so high, that eating a single serving every day might actually be bad for you. That serving would include 431% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, 137% of riboflavin, 800% of B12, and 486% of copper. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep very long in the fridge, so you may want to skip liver if you live alone. But if you live with a family, you can easily divvy up a single slice between everyone.

Have any great ideas for highly nutritious foods that won’t break the bank? Let us know in the comments below. 

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 21st, 2016
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  • L. A. McDonough

    Certain foods people just don’t like and won’t eat no matter what. I suggest stocking up on things you would eat high in protein and nutrition that you normally will eat anyway. Wheat, soy and corn are gmo, and many avoid these.

    • Joan Camara

      Exactly right on those being GMO! And see my comment above on “milk”!

  • owr

    The main staple of the poor in 3rd. world nations is beans and rice. One can live on them alone for quite awhile. Add a banana a day and you have a well rounded diet.

  • Joan Camara

    Milk?? Really? All factory farmed animals are given antibiotic shots (because they live in filth), and hormone shots to make them fatten up faster, and then have been fed GMO grains. No, I wouldn’t call that nutritious. And I wonder, how many people would vote for beef liver for one of those 8 foods. Yuck! Anyone?

  • Mike

    What a ridiculously stupid article, my god, must be backed by big pharma! It should read, eat cheap, get sick, die!

  • Ruth Beaty

    Whole grain wheat isn’t very useful, makes awful bread unless you mix it with white flour. Unbleached flour is good and can be bought gmo free relatively cheaply. Beans and rice are good, as OWR says. Frozen veggies are surprisingly cheap and nutritious, but watch where they are from, China has a bad record of allowing toxic substances in food growing areas. Many foods are processed or grown there. Cows as a rule are hormone and antibiotic free by the time they get to market, which can’t be said for most chicken, which is also being shipped to, processed by and shipped back from China. The liver holds most of the toxins in a cow, don’t eat it if you aren’t sure about how the cow was processed. Salmon is most definitely not cheap, a can is around 5 dollars, and that doesn’t go very far! it’s one of the worst offenders for retaining toxins, especially farm raised.

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