Many of us ring in the new year with two resolutions: eat healthier and cut back on our spending. All too often it seems that these two ambitions just don’t go hand in hand.
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Healthy food is often more expensive than junk food. Plus, nutritious meals usually take longer — and require more skill — to prepare. And thanks to inflation, food prices are only going up. For many Americans, it seems nearly impossible to cut the grocery bill while shrinking their waistline (or achieving the nutritional wellness goal they aspire to).
While none of us can tackle inflation alone — or make healthy food cheaper than the more accessible junk we can get from a vending machine — we can do our best to shop smart. This means not only getting the most affordable versions of everything we need from the supermarket (a perfectly adequate plan), but also broadening our horizons by discovering new food items that are easy on the wallet, tasty and nutritious.
GOBankingRates spoke with several food and deal experts to learn their favorite healthy yet reasonably priced picks from places we often shop, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Walmart.
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KIND Bars at Walmart
“I love KIND Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt bars, and they’re super wallet-friendly as well as good for your health,” says Lauren Manaker, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “These bars are a good source of fiber, low in sodium and made only with healthy ingredients. Many good-for-you bars come with a hefty price tag, but these bars are modestly priced, but still nourish the body with real nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.
A box of 12 KIND bars of Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt bars costs $14.22 at Walmart.
Trader Joe’s Chicken and Vegetable Wonton Soup
“Trader Joe’s Chicken and Vegetable Wonton Soup is packed with nutritious veggies like carrots, snow peas, cilantro, green onions, leeks — and it’s in a vegetable soup base mixed with a chicken soup base,” said Jessica Randhawa, owner and executive chef at The Forked Spoon. “The chicken wontons and chicken soup base provide 11 grams of protein per serving at just 220 calories, which is also relatively high in protein per calorie for a soup. At just $2.79 per bowl, this is a filling, healthy, and easy-to-make meal.
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Almond Butter at Whole Foods
“It costs $7.49 for a 16-ounce container and is super rich in protein,” said Tyler Read, CEO of Personal Trainer Pioneer. “Perfect post-workout snack. Delicious with fruit. Apples are my favorite.”
Bulk Cashews at Whole Foods
“At Whole Foods, bulk cashews can be a tasty and healthy option,” says Michael Garrico, nutritionist and personal trainer and co-founder of TotalShape. “Bulk cashews are rich in magnesium, which helps relieve insomnia, headaches, and muscle cramps, and they’re also cheaper when bought from the bulk food section of Whole Foods.”
Trader Joe’s Elote Greek Yogurt
“This dip is much healthier than traditional dips like onion dip or ready-to-eat processed guacamole(s) with significantly fewer calories and fat than other types of dips, plus the healthy cultures found in Greek yogurt,” says Annie Singer, a researcher. food entrepreneur. and the founder of Reciple. Trader Joe’s Elote Greek Yogurt Dip costs $3.49 for an 8-ounce container. Compare this to dips you’d find in any grocery store, like Tostitos salsa con queso ($4.49) or even Trader Joe’s own vegan tzatziki dip ($3.99); it’s a great price for something much healthier than most dips.”
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SunButter at Walmart
“SunButter (toasted sunflower seed butter) is a healthier alternative to peanut butter,” says Liana Werner-Gray, health and nutrition coach and founder of The Earth Diet. “It’s also great for people with nut allergies or households with nut allergies (about 3 million Americans). Less saturated fat than almond butter and peanut butter, more iron and magnesium, and the same amount of protein.”
A 16-ounce jar of SunButter retails for $6.48 at Walmart.
Discover Cuisine Pad Thai Noodles at Walmart
“Explore Cuisine Pad Thai Noodles are gluten-free and the kind of noodles we dream of at home in our Asian cuisine,” Werner-Gray said. “They’re soft and springy, but hearty and delicious — and made with just one ingredient: organic and non-GMO brown rice. If a noodle tastes this good, it doesn’t need to contain gluten, as it often leads to inflammation and bloating.”
A six-pack of Explore Cuisine Organic Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles offers 24 servings and retails for $47.07 at Walmart.
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Organic Blueberries at Whole Foods
“While blueberries contain many disease- and fat-fighting nutrients, such as polyphenols, they are also extremely expensive, which is why many people avoid them,” Garrico said. “Stick to the organic varieties to reap the most health benefits, and head to the Whole Foods produce section, where it’s available for just $3.49 a pint.”
Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower
“At $2.49, the value is hard to beat,” said Natalya Drozhzhin, founder of Momsdish. “I find that frozen cauliflower rice is so much tastier than raw cauliflower rice, so I always like to have four or five bags in my freezer for a rainy day. From quick low-carb fried rice to burrito bowls, it’s a must-have for healthy food and so much more affordable than the varieties sold in luxury health food stores.
Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Kip
“My all-time favorite wallet-friendly item from Trader Joe’s is the Kung Pao Chicken,” said Drozhzhin. “It comes with two ultra-flavorful sauce packets that really push the envelope. To make the dish healthier and more filling, I add sautéed bell peppers, onions, or even broccoli. For my family of four, this is a super easy weeknight meal and the perfect topper for a steaming bowl of white rice.Last time I bought it, the package was only $4.99 – a great bargain for all the chicken you get!”
Bagged avocados at Trader Joe’s
“I’ve noticed that avocados from other stores vary greatly in ripeness and flavor, (but) Trader Joe’s avocados always seem to be perfect,” said Michelle Gibeault Traub, dietitian and coach. “I let them ripen on the counter and then quickly put them in the fridge to keep them good for at least a week.
“Avocados provide healthy fats, which help to make you feel full. They also have a rich flavor that means you don’t need to use as much spices. (They are) usually around $3 for a bag of five of the small avocados. A little more for the bigger ones.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Top Wallet-Friendly Choices for Healthy Food Items at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and More