Nutritious Pantry Staples for Less Than $3

Easy grocery store buys to build a meal off of


We have all kinds of grocery stores around my neighborhood. I could shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a whole assortment of specialty stores any day of the week. I do go to those places for things here and there, but I still find the best deals at my large average grocery store chain. It spans nearly the entire Northeast and there is nothing particularly special about it. It is just where I tend to find the best deals on a whole host of healthy foods. These staples are readily available in most stores, I think, and I hope after reading this you’ll be on the lookout for them. For less than $3 per item, you can easily use these staples as a base for meals to create some healthy, budget-friendly menus for your family!

— thenaptimechef, Babble


Bagged Spinach

A 9-ounce bag of spinach is $2.99, sometimes less with a coupon. I use it to make nutritious salads, wilt it as a base for fish, or even add it chopped to soups.

Make a spinach, tangerine, and fennel salad.


Brown Rice

A  32-ounce bag of rice costs $2.39. This can easily feed our family of three for at least six meals. I use it for everything from making fried rice bowls, serving with grilled chicken, or stuffing peppers and eggplant.

Here are 7 delicious things to make with brown rice.


Canned Tuna

A quality 5-ounce can of tuna costs $1.65. There are so many ways to use this, and it keeps well so it is always good to store for later! Our favorite thing to make is, obviously, tuna salad!

Here are 10 ways to cook a can of tuna.


Dried Lentils

Our average grocery store doesn't have a bulk grain aisle, but I can still get basic grains at good prices. A 16-ounce bag of dried lentils costs around $0.85, and I use that to make at least two batches of soup, feeding four people each.

Make vegan chili with dried lentils.


Whole-Wheat Pasta

A 13.2-ounce box of whole-wheat pasta costs about $1.50. I usually buy two boxes in different shapes because we eat it all the time! Our favorite way to serve it is tossed with fresh vegetables.

Make whole-wheat pasta with kale.


Check out more Nutritious Food Staples for Less Than $3.


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