15 Dirt Cheap Healthy Snacks for Less Than $1

Today, I’m going to prove to you that it doesn’t cost the earth to eat healthily. Instead of spending a fortune at a coffee shop, I’m going to show you that you can enjoy tasty and cheap healthy snacks for a dollar or less.

I frequently hear the excuse being aired that it’s just too expensive to eat a healthy diet and to live a healthy lifestyle, but for most people it’s just an excuse. A really lame one.

Note: Once you read this, check out Tips to Save Money on Your Food Bill and my guide to Healthy Eating on a Budget.

sxc.hu: foxumom

There is no doubt that some healthy snacks and foods are expensive. However, the fact remains that some of the cheapest items you can buy are also the healthiest.

The secret? Cruise the perimeter of the supermarket. This way, you’ll get the best nutrition for the least amount of money.

It’s there you will find healthy cheap snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, nuts and seeds. If you’re wise, you’ll also go for produce that is on special, and in season as they’re normally cheaper.

15 cheap healthy snacks…

Please note: this is price per serving

#1 Pumpkin seeds $0.27 (1/2 ounce)

#2 Plain popcorn $0.34 (1 cup)

#3 Boiled egg $0.38

#4 Banana $0.40 each

#5 Whole orange juice $0.40 (8 fluid ounces)

#6 Plain yoghurt $0.48 (8 ounces)

#7 Raw carrots $0.49 (1/2 cup)

#8 Fruit and nut mix $0.50 (1 ounce)

#9 Cheddar cheese $0.56 (1 ounce)

#11 Cherry tomatoes $0.60 (6 small tomatoes)

#10 Whole wheat bagel $0.67 each

#12 Raw broccoli $0.75 (1/2 cup)

#13 Granny smith apple $0.80 each

#14 Bosc pear $0.85 each

#15 All bran cereal $0.88 (1/2 cup)

Obviously you may be able to get some of these items cheaper, particularly if you buy from a fresh food market – this is just a guideline.

To make some of these snacks nutritionally complete and more satisfying, you may want to add something extra which will obviously increase the cost. So, for example you could have raw carrots plus hummus dip.

However, I hope you can see that healthy food doesn’t have to be more expensive.

If you don’t care for your health, consider how eating cheap healthy snacks instead of junk equivalents could help you save money…

Comparable unhealthy snacks…

#1 Snickers $0.99 (2.07 ounce)

#2 Doritos Cool Ranch Chips $0.99 (2.125 ounces)

#3 Cocoa Cola $1.49 (20 fluid ounces)

#4 Twinkies $1.49 (3 ounces)

#5 Red Bull $2.89 (12 fluid ounces)

Obviously, treat foods are fine in moderation.

But, ask yourself if you’d be satisfied with only one of these snacks. My guess is NO. Maybe cola and Twinkies would be your choice. This would cost $2.98, plus the fat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup…

Whereas, if you were to choose the whole wheat bagel with a glass of orange juice, your hunger would be satisfied for a mere $1.07.

Put your dollar to good use, and you’ll start eating healthier and feeling great as a result!

What do you think? Have I oversimplified this issue?

(Note: I used Safeway online to compare the prices listed, and worked out the individual price according to the guidelines for a healthy serving size.)

Email address

About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


Free Book: The Secret Behind Optimal Health!

Join +17,936 other smart people by entering your email address.
This will send you my book, which is a brief guide to Life Mastery.
It's absolutely free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Not convinced? Read 7 Reasons to Subscribe!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Blake October 31, 2008 at 7:39 am

I think you are right on. I get sick of hearing people’s excuses too. Thanks for showing those prices, especially comparing the junk food.

Blake’s last blog post..How I Make a Good Omelette

Reply

Fitness Guy October 31, 2008 at 8:40 am

I totally agree. Not only is money not the important part of a healthy snack but the stresses of money (and I have them too trying to support my family) are the cause of all sorts of sickness.

One of the troubles with lots of cheap food is that it is usually devoid of any nutrition. It is nice to see and realize that cheap and really snacks are all around us, guess natural is the way to go

Fitness Guy’s last blog post..How to avoid holiday weight gain

Reply

Melanie October 31, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Hi Blake,

You’re welcome. It’s a very simple post, but I thought it would be really useful to show how cheap healthy food can be, next time someone tells me they can’t eat healthy food cause it’s too expensive, I’ll point them here!!

Hi Fitness Guy,

I’m a big fan of natural whole foods, rather than processed junk. Why waste your calories on food that has no nutrition, as you say? Not that I have a perfect diet or anything, but it’s what you eat in the majority that counts.

I also think you’re right on about stress and sickness, sadly that is the case for many people.

Reply

Cathy in NZ November 1, 2008 at 4:59 am

I have a gooey chocolate brownie every Friday…..yesterday not from my usual place but still very nice, thank you very much!

The rest of the week, I try to be as conscious as possible to have the healthiest items within the food chain…..as I’m losing some weight off (suggested by doctor!) back to where I was a few years ago.

But the circumstances are different now and I am using more mental power which means I need to keep that all topped up. I don’t necessarily use snacks other than a museli bar (usually on the way home)

I know it’s suggested small meals every few hours but that won’t work either now….as I tend to eat quite the wrong things!

I have the gooey brownie sooooooo that the chocolate cravings do not overwhelm and I go into a bigger hog-out! And it’s a ‘look-forward-2-treat each week….

Just lately I have had cravings for deep fried chips with tomato sauce on but I have resisted them….saying Brownie on Friday :-)

Reply

Melanie November 1, 2008 at 7:44 am

Hi Mike,

I totally agree that having treats are important. However, in terms of convenience, it literally takes a few minutes to prepare for healthy snacks: put a few nuts or seeds into a bowl, take a piece of fruit, pour some cereal into a bowl with milk.

If you take a few minutes to prepare before work you could even save time, no more waiting in line to get your chips and soda!

Hey Cathy,

I like your chocolate brownie on Fridays idea! How do you find the other 6 days of the week? It this way of eating something you could stick with for life? It sounds like you’ve got ‘mental power’ under control, which is excellent! Well done :-)

Reply

Mike November 1, 2008 at 12:50 am

Its amazing how pricing compares- that being said it might be cheaper for the better alternative but ‘time’ is just as important. Ultimately its all about conveniance, plus we all like to sneak an occasional treat sometimes :)

Reply

Cathy in NZ November 1, 2008 at 1:16 pm

the 6days are quite hard….sometimes I fall of the wagon!

I know the idea of snacks is quite good but I seem to overboard unless I’m at home with my trusty weight watchers scale. I’m not a weight watcher though as such I use it weigh food i.e. pasta so I don’t often go over th 100grms idea!

And then occasionally when i want to ‘check’ I’m on the right track use the scale then….

I’m not sure if this is ‘stickability’ for life but it’s the right way right now….:-) nothing is static otherwise you then really do ‘fall off the wagon’

Reply

Sabs November 3, 2008 at 2:20 am

I think one should remember that eating unhealthy stuff (the so-called cheap food) will cause health problems and will increase medical bills. AND doctors will recommend healthy food in any case…So, in the end, eating healthy (read expensive) can lead to savings. Prevention is better than cure.

Reply

:( May 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm

This makes me really sad. Here we don’t pay. Even people who don’t pay taxes get free healthcare.

The idea of literally having to pay to keep yourself alive if you get sick is disgusting. :(

But yes, I do agree eating healthily is best, with or without medical bills! :)

Reply

Melanie November 3, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Hey Cathy,

It sounds like it’s working for you right now, which is the main thing.

I’m not sure if this would be any better, but I know some people use cup measurements as a way of determining their food portions. It would be more portable than bringing your weighing scales anyhow! Maybe something you could consider in the further, I don’t know.

Hi Sabs,

Yeah, I’m totally with you on this one. It’s a little like an investment for the future, isn’t it? If only people could value their health as much! Thanks for your input.

Reply

Cathy in NZ November 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm

yes I know the cupful idea which is equivalent to a handful/or palm size BUT the trouble is the sizing you get/buying wise isn’t always that size…..packets, and so on :-)

the one-size muffin which is isn’t a handful but overlaps here and there!

should I get 2 small ones or a big one……that sort of scenario as well…

even when taking the healthy route you can be stymied by a huge package….ummmmm “one more won’t hurt” :-(

sometimes I wonder about the ‘serving size’ info on the packaging as well…..

usually what I do…is in the next fuel up remember how much I ate last time and balance it out! So if I have to go to a luncheon, I might say to myself later. “well now you need a tiny snack instread of a large dinner”

Reply

Family Nutritionist November 4, 2008 at 5:29 am

1/4 cup of dried fruit, one half-cup fresh fruit or veg (or equivalent-size whole fruit). 2 Tablespoons nuts or seeds. Good snack sizes. And it is unlikely you’ll be eating melamine powder in whole foods like these. It’s much easier to sneak contaminants into the refined “protein isolates” and other powders used in junk food and “protein” or “energy” bars.

Family Nutritionist’s last blog post..Carbs don’t tell the whole story

Reply

Melanie November 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Hi Cathy,

Yes, I know what you mean about serving size, it’s not something to rely on that’s for sure, merely a guide.

As you say, by tuning into your hunger and remembering what you had to eat earlier in the day, you really can control your eating – something we each have to learn for ourselves.

Hi Family nutritionist,

Thanks for adding to the discussion. It’s so true, we just don’t know what we’re eating in processed food. Really, it’s confusing enough trying to find fruits and vegetables that have minimal pesticides etc.

Reply

Alice October 28, 2009 at 1:02 am

Is it still bad for a skinny person that doesn’t put on weight easily to eat more junk food than recommended.. Thanks
.-= Alice´s last blog ..ScoopFree =-.

Reply

Norma September 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Why is whole wheat bread listed as one of the five things you should never eat?

Reply

Melanie September 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It isn’t… what do you mean?

Reply

the brownies April 10, 2014 at 4:43 am

Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging
for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, let alone the content!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: