Superfoods don’t have to be super expensive.
Sure, they can be. The ranks of superfoods — foods so nutrient-rich they may confer health benefits as a result — include pricey delicacies like pomegranate juice and Goji berries.
But they also include plenty of supermarket bargains:
Although they cost just about 25 cents each, “bananas are no nutritional slouch,” says Chef Chris Brugler of Chris Brugler Catering in Los Angeles.
“Among their greatest benefits are their fiber and potassium content,” he says. Pick slightly green ones so they’ll last longer.
Grocery stores often use them as loss leaders, priced at under $2 per dozen, says savings expert Andrea Woroch.
“Eggs are a great source of protein and linked to heart health and fat loss,” she says.
A one-pound bag can run less than $1.
Plus, carrots are “packed with beta-carotene, which appears to have heart protective benefits,” says registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, author of “The Plant-Powered Diet.”
“Potatoes are the cheapest source of potassium in the produce aisle,” says Brugler. (They clock in at about 11 cents per serving.) “This mineral is crucial for heart health and muscle function. Plus, it can help keep blood pressure down.”
Just don’t discard the skin, which is the most nutritious part.
“It’s a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, giving it more protein than any other grain,” says Lindsay of TheGluttonsDigest.com. “It is also full of iron, potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber.”
Quinoa can be purchased in bulk bins for as little as $1 per pound, and works with both sweet and savory dishes, she says.
Pick up whatever’s cheap and in season — right now, baby broccoli rabe, baby lettuce, red chard and mustard greens.
“These are truly superfoods, simply packed with lots of vitamins and minerals in a skinny calorie package,” says Palmer. “They even contain protein and phytochemicals, such as lutein, which are good for eyes.”
In season, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are an inexpensive source of antioxidants, says Woroch. You might find blueberries for less than $2 per pint, for example.
The rest of the year, “opt for frozen bags of berries to save 30%” and get those nutrients, she says.
A bag of dried beans costs as little as $1. Cooking them is an easy way to benefit from this nutritional powerhouse – legumes are “loaded with fiber and protein,” says Dawn Wickwire, a spokeswoman for TheGroceryGame.com.
She also likes them sprouted. “When eaten raw they have live enzymes along with the fiber,” she says. Add to a salad or enjoy solo.
“One serving delivers more than a day’s worth of vitamins C and K,” says Brugler. “Plus, eating several servings of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, each week may help reduce your risk of cancer.”
All that, for just about 36 cents per serving.
“Oatmeal is one of the best foods to start your day with,” Woroch says. “Not only does it offer healthy whole grains for heart health, but it keeps you full and maintains steady sugar levels.”
Skip instant, which is more expensive and has more sugar, in favor of plain varieties that cost under $4 per pound.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.