Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.
Today I am going to share with you my top 10 pantry staples that are both filling and cheap. I always keep these stocked, so that I can make a healthy and satisfying meal at a moments notice. I know that eating healthy can feel daunting and expensive, so I hope this list helps dispel any fears you may have. I promise it’s easier (and more affordable) than you think to stock your shelves full of healthy food!
10 Filling and Cheap Pantry Staples
Although tofu comes with a stigma, I love it because it’s so versatile and affordable. You can make sauces, scrambles or breakfast burritos with it. Or try frying it and adding it to salads or bowls. Don’t be afraid – it’s loaded with protein and super cheap.
Tofu recipes to try: The Best Tofu Scramble, Carrot Noodle Vegetarian Ramen, 30 Minute Crispy Tofu and Squash Bowl, Cajun Tofu Nuggets
I choose my grains based on what is on sale, but some of my favorites are rice, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, and millet. I use these as the base for most of my meals, or put them on salads. Grains are great, healthy carbs to fill you up, instead of leaving you hungry in an hour.
Grain recipes to try: Autumn Harvest Quinoa Salad, Asian Quinoa Snack Bowls, Beet Farro Mediterranean Salad, Spicy Curried Cauliflower and Millet Bowl
Oats are great for breakfast, but you can also blend them to make oat flour or use them in muffins or other sweet treats! It’s both the price and versatility that make oats one of my favorite pantry staples.
Oat recipes to try: Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats, No Bake Blueberry Crisp Granola Bars, Pumpkin Ginger Breakfast Cookies, Healthified Oatmeal Cream Pies
Beans pair great with your grains, because together they make a complete protein. Therefore, you can get full for very little money. I always keep different varieties of beans in my pantry to throw on meals for added protein and fiber.
Bean recipes to try: Healthy Southern Baked Beans, White Bean and Kale White Wine Pasta, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos
Chickpeas are similar to beans, but I find them to be much more versatile. I use them on nearly everything. I love them straight from the can, fried, or baked. These are my go-to protein add to all salads, soups, bowls, tacos or wraps.
Chickpea recipes to try: 5 Minute Chickpea Salad Wrap, Masala Chickpeas with Coconut Rice, Vegetarian Blueberry Cobb Salad, Chickpea Street Corn Tacos
Potatoes are a filling and cheap carb to use as the base of any meal. Stuff them with tons of veggies, protein, and herbs and you have a great meal in no time! Plus, potatoes are versatile so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Potato recipes to try: Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Dinner Salad, Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Sweet Potato Sauce, Kale and Potato Swiss Cheese Melt, Texas BBQ Potato & Tempeh Tacos
Lentils can serve the same purpose as a grain, but the great part about lentils is that they are packed with protein. This makes them even more filling and worth your money, in my opinion. Use them for soups or stews or bowls or salads!
Lentil recipes to try: Lentil Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Lentil and Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili
8. Olive Oil
Everyone needs a fat in the kitchen to cook with. And if we are talking about getting the best quality for a budget, I think olive oil is the best choice. It works well to cook eggs with, as well as heating lunch and dinner. The versatility and price make it my go-to cooking oil.
Olive oil recipes to try: Grilled Spanish Tomato Bread, Pumpkin Chia Olive Oil Cake, Olive Oil Granola Crumble, Moroccan Harissa Salad
I always have eggs in my refrigerator so that I can eat them for breakfast, add them as protein to a meal, hard boil them for snacks or use them in baked goods. While good quality eggs aren’t always that cheap, the utility wins out here.
Egg recipes to try: Greens and Brie Egg White Frittata, Apple Fennel Fall Fried Egg Sandwich, Spicy Egg and Mushroom Wrap, Smashed Potato Eggs Benedict
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are not only a superfood, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, but they become gelatinous and pudding like when soaked in liquid. Therefore I always keep some around to make an overnight breakfast pudding or a quick dessert. You don’t need a lot of seeds to make a great meal, making them pretty cost effective!
Chia seed recipes to try: Healthy Banana Pudding, Nut & Seed Overnight Porridge, Strawberry Chia Jam, Green Tea Chia Pudding
Over the next few months I’ll be covering a variety of ways to be healthy on a budget. Keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime!