Eating Healthy on a Budget During Pregnancy

eating healthy.pngEating healthy is important throughout life, but perhaps especially so when you're working to sustain your life and the life of your growing baby! Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive, even though it is generally thought to be. You can eat healthy during pregnancy on a budget -- even a very tight budget. We've prepared a list of the most key healthy foods that deliver the most critical nutrients during pregnancy and how to get them cheaply. 

General Tips for Buying Healthy Foods Cheaply

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are cheapest when in season 
  • Buy in bulk when possible
  • To get the best deals on prices, shop big box discount stores, like Walmart; warehouse wholesale club stores, like Costco or Sam's; discount supermarkets, like Aldi's; or a farmer's market or roadside stand.
  • Limit canned goods, or at the very least, check the label. Canned goods often add excessive salt or sugar and are not the most healthy options. When buying canned, choose low sodium and items packaged in natural or fruit juices when possible.
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy and cheap! 

Essential Pregnancy Foods on the Cheap, Listed by Nutrient

Folate 

Garbanzo beans (aka "chickpeas"), pinto beans, lentils, black eyed peas - canned (cheap) or dried (cheapest)

Broccoli - fresh (cheap) or frozen (cheapest)

Asparagus - frozen (cheaper)

Spinach - fresh or frozen (cheapest) 

Brussels sprouts - frozen (cheapest)

Romaine lettuce - full head (cheaper) instead of cut leaves

Fortified foods also can be a good source of folic acid. Check for amounts on the label. Your best bang for the buck will be with fortified rice and enriched spaghetti/pasta. 

 

Calcium

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese - off brands (cheaper), block cheese (cheaper), yogurt tubs (cheaper) instead of cups

Leafy greens like collards, kale, and spinach - frozen (cheaper), full head (cheaper) instead of cut leaves

Sardines

Soybeans (edamame or tofu)

Sauteed or steamed leafy greens like kale, or mustard or turnip greens

Black eyed peas - canned or dried (cheaper)

White beans - canned or dried (cheaper)

Oranges - fresh (cheaper in season, from Jan to April) or canned (cheaper, year round)

 

Iron 

Spinach - fresh or frozen (cheaper)

Kidney beans - canned or dried (cheapest)

Beef - ground (cheapest)

Chicken liver

Clams, mollusks, mussels, oysters - canned (cheaper)

Sardines

Chicken - whole, bone-in thighs, drumsticks

Turkey - ground (cheaper)

Tuna - canned (cheapest) 

Enriched breakfast cereals - look for high iron grams on the label

Baked potato

Enriched egg noodles

 

Good Fats 

Almonds - buy in bulk

Peanuts 

Peanut butter - look for varieties without added sugar or high fructose corn syrup

Oils - extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter (cheaper)

Eggs

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