21 Foods That Cost Under a Buck a Pound — With Recipes!

By Laurel Randolph on 10 November 2014 2 comments

Do you ever look at your inflated grocery bill and think, "Maybe I should have just gone to the drive-through?" Cooking can feel a little pricey, especially if you're not a seasoned deal finder. It might be time to change the way you approach a visit to the supermarket. Luckily, many of the healthiest foods are also the cheapest, so you can save money and be healthy at the same time. Start with the following foods, which can all be found for under $1 a pound! (See also: 10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck)

While exact prices depend on where you live, where you shop, and even what time of year it is, no matter where you are or the season, all of these food items are worth their weight.

1. Pumpkin

A fall favorite, pumpkin also happens to be reasonably priced and versatile. You can make desserts, soup, bread, side dishes, and more, including non-food items.

2. Beans

Beans are healthy, easy to prepare, and a great source of protein. Good thing they're so cheap! Two of the cheapest beans, pinto beans and chickpeas, can be used in a variety of ways, including a fresh and tasty bean salad.

3. Bananas

This potassium-rich yellow fruit is the ultimate snack on-the-go. Even organic bananas cost well under $1 a pound, and you can use over-ripe fruit for baked goods like muffins.

4. Potatoes

A cornerstone of the American diet, potatoes are also a good source of fiber and potassium. They can be used in all sort of ways, but as a simple roasted side dish is a good place to start.

5. Canned Tuna

A protein that is shelf-stable for years, canned tuna is ultimately convenient. You can't go wrong with a classic tuna salad.

6. Apples

Many common varieties of apples are under $1 a pound when bought in three or five pound bags. Lucky for us, since apples are delicious and great for you. An easy and satisfying way to eat apples is to simply bake them.

7. Cantaloupe and Honeydew

These melons play a starring role in any successful fruit salad, and happen to be easy on the wallet. Cantaloupe and honeydew also successfully straddle the sweet and savory line, often featured with cured meat or in salads.

8. Grapefruit

A healthy citrus fruit that makes a great breakfast, grapefruit is also very affordable. Sprinkle a little sugar on your grapefruit halves and broil them for a real treat.

9. Limes

Another biggie in the citrus world, limes are a zesty accent to many dishes and drinks, and are cheaper than their yellow counterparts. They can also be big players in desserts such as pie.

10. Plain Yogurt

Yogurt contains beneficial probiotics and much-needed calcium, and is often priced under $1 a pound for the plain variety (not Greek-style). Yogurt pairs well with sweet fruit, granola, or in smoothies and drinks like a mango lassi.

11. Oranges

Not just for juice, eat a Valencia orange and get a juicy boost of Vitamin C. Oranges add a nice flavor to many dishes sweet and savory, like in salads and salsa.

12. Cabbage

A crunchy cruciferous vegetable that is full of fiber and vitamin K, cabbage is a real bargain. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and serves as the base for the popular side dish coleslaw.

13. Onions

Many great savory recipes start with cooked or raw onion, and for good reason. Onions add layers of flavor to dishes, and can even be used as a main ingredient.

14. Pineapple

This funny looking tropical fruit is juicy budget-friendly. Simply eaten as is or made into a grilled dessert, pineapple is a crowd-pleaser.

15. White Rice

White rice might not be as healthy as its cousin brown rice (which costs a little more), but it's easy, versatile, and affordable. Combine it with beans or chicken for a low-cost meal.

16. Sweet Potatoes

These brightly-colored tubers are vitamin-filled and taste great simply baked in the oven or roasted with herbs.

17. Carrots

Another orange powerhouse, carrots can be eaten raw, baked, steamed, sauteed, or juiced. They make a nice crunchy snack and a flavorful side dish.

18. Corn

You can buy corn fresh, frozen or canned, and use it in a number of ways. Fresh corn on the cob is perfect grilled, briefly boiled, or steamed with a little seasoning. Using canned or frozen corn, you can make a hearty corn chowder.

19. Eggs

Believe it or not, there are still eggs to be found for less than $1 a pound. Eggs are a great source of protein and play many roles in cooking and baking. They also make a satisfying main dish, like a simple frittata.

20. Mustard and Collard Greens

Dark leafy greens are a superfood, and are loaded with valuable nutrients. Shred them up into salads or saute them as a healthy side dish.

21. Butternut Squash

This rich-tasting squash can be roasted, put in pasta, made into soup, and more. Plus it's a real bang for your buck!

What's your favorite buck a pound food? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture
David Dunn

Unfortunately, several of these foods have to be restricted for people like me on chronic kidney disease diets.

Guest's picture
Nina @ RichLife.io

I've heard people cutting their grocery bills quite a bit by going vegetarian or vegan, and I've noticed my food bill is always higher when I buy meats or fish. I'm halfway in between, sometimes I get my protein from animals and sometimes from dairy or plants.