(VVNG.com)- A common question amongst dieters is “How can I eat a nutritious diet while keeping my grocery bill low?” Many people believe it’s cheaper to eat fast food off the dollar menu but you have to take into account the quality of ingredients you’re getting. If they can sell it for a dollar and make a profit, imagine how much they get it for! You can cut food costs by eating more meals at home and by making sure they feature some of the healthiest foods from your supermarket — foods like whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Luckily, many of these foods cost less than $2 per package.
1. Brown Rice. Great for: Side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, soups, and stews. Serving size = 1/4 cup dry rice. Price per serving: 18 cents. A 1-pound bag costs about $1.75 and contains 10 servings.
2. Brown Rice Pasta or Quinoa Pasta. Great for: Hot and cold pasta dishes. Serving size = 2 ounces of dried pasta. A serving for most people translates into about 2 ounces of dried pasta, which means you get about 7 servings in the typical box or bag of dried pasta. Price per serving? About 24 cents. You can get a 13- to 16-ounce box or bag of store-brand dried pasta for about $2.69.
3. Organic Bread. Great for: Hot and cold sandwiches, french toast and open face burgers. Serving size = 2 slices. Labels usually list a serving as 1 slice of bread (about 28 grams per slice), but for our purposes, we’ll use the amount you’d use to make a sandwich. Price per serving: About 18 cents. You can get a 22-ounce loaf of store-brand whole-wheat bread for about $2.99 (on sale). Each loaf has about 22 slices, or 11 servings of 2 slices each.
4. Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Great for: A quick snack, parfaits made with fruit and granola, and smoothies. Serving size = Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers. You can save money by buying a larger container of Greek yogurt and then taking your 6- or 8-ounce portion from it. Price per serving: Individual servings (6- to 8-ounce containers) cost about 89 cents each and sometimes less when found on sale.
5. Organic Oats. Great for: Hot or cold cereal, granola, crumb toppings for desserts, and muffins. Serving size = 1/2 cup dry oats. Price per serving: 13 cents. A 42-ounce container of store brand oats costs around $3.99, and each container has about 30 servings, based on a serving of 1/2-cup of dry oats.
6. Frozen Vegetables. Great for: Side dishes, casseroles, and stews. Serving size = 1 cup. Price per serving: Around 25 cents. Frozen vegetables come in 12-ounce to 24-ounce bags that cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 and contain 6-8 cups, depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. At one national store, you can buy a bag of frozen organic green beans for $1.79. A bag of petite peas will cost you $1.19, and a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach costs $1.19.
7. Russet Potato. Great for: Baked potatoes, breakfast potatoes, salads, casseroles, and stews. Serving size = 1 medium or large baked potato. Price per serving: About 33 cents per potato. You can buy a 5-pound bag of Russet potatoes for about $3.99, and a bag contains 11-13 potatoes.
8. Fresh Bagged Spinach. Great for: Quick salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, and stews. Serving size = If you use it for a main-dish salad, about 4 cups makes a serving. If you sauté it and add to an omelet, or use it for a side salad, about 2 cups is a serving. Price per serving: 66 cents for a 4-cup serving; 33 cents for a 2-cup serving. A bag (9 ounces) of organic, washed spinach leaves sells for about $1.99.
9. Canned Black Beans. Great for: Burritos, nachos, dips, enchiladas, or a quick side dish. Serving size = Each can has about 3.5 servings, based on 1/2-cup servings. Price per serving: About 34 cents. You can buy a 15-ounce can of store brand vegetarian refried beans for about $1.89.
10. Canned Tuna. Great for: Sandwiches, casseroles, several types of salads, and to serve with crackers. Serving size = A 6-ounce can contains around 2 servings. Price per serving: About 70 cents for chunk white albacore in water. You can buy a 6-ounce can of solid white albacore in water for about $1.99, or a 6-ounce can of chunk white albacore in water for about $1.39.
11. Canned or Jarred Marinara Sauce. Great for: Pasta dishes, pizza, casseroles, appetizers, Italian sandwiches, and stews. Serving size = 1/2 cup. Price per serving: About 28 cents. You can buy a 24 or 28-ounce jar of organic marinara or pasta sauce for $2.99.
12. Eggs. Great for: Making quick omelets or as an ingredient in fried rice. You can also blend eggs to make quiches, frittatas, egg casseroles. Serving size = 1/4 cup. Price per serving: 16 cents. You can buy a dozen eggs for $1.99.