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50 healthy foods for under $1 a pound

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50 healthy foods for under $1 a pound.
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by Yahoo!Green, on Tue Jun 8, 2010 10:15am PDT1 CommentPost a CommentRead More from This Author »Report Abuse..By Jeff Yeager, The Daily Green

(Photo: Robin Macdougall / Getty Images)
If you are what you eat, then I should weigh-in at under $1 a pound.

That’s because, as a general rule of thumb, I try to only buy foodstuffs that costs under a buck per pound. Under $1 a pound, year-round — that’s my grocery shopping mantra.

It’s not just because I’m a world-class penny-pincher and smart shopper; believe it or not, it’s also about eating healthier. When you look at the USDA’s “food pyramid,” many of the things we should be eating the most of — grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables — happen to cost the least.

It’s often the stuff that’s bad for us (at least in large quantities) like red meat, fatty dairy products, and processed foods high in trans saturated fats, that cost the most, on a per pound basis.

To prove my point, I’ve put together this list of 50 healthy foods that I’ve purchased at least once in the last six months for under $1 a pound.

So rev-up your shopping cart, but be careful: There’s a Green Cheapskate loose on aisle five!

•Apples – One a day keeps the cheapskate away.
•Asparagus – HUGE store special at 99 cents a pound during Easter week. I bought 10 pounds, blanched it, and then froze it.
•Bananas – Potassium for pennies.
•Barley – A tasty alternative to rice and potatoes.
•Beans – Canned or dried. Kidney, pinto, navy, black, red, and many more.
•Bok choy – Steam and serve with a little soy sauce.
•Broccoli – Yes, a store special. Usually closer to $2 per pound.
•Bulgar wheat – Try it in pilaf or a tabouleh salad.
•Cabbage – Green and red. I like mine fried.
•Cantaloupe – No, sorry, I can’t; I’m already married.
•Carrots – Raw or steamed. Rich in carotenes, a healthy antioxidant.
•Celery – Stir-fry it for a change.
•Chicken – Whole or various parts, on sale.
•Chickpeas – AKA garbanzo beans — mash ’em up as a healthy sandwich spread.
•Cornmeal – “Polenta” is all the rage these days, but I loved it 40 years ago when Mom called it “cornmeal mush.”
•Cucumbers – Try peeling, seeding, and steaming with a little butter and salt.
•Daikon radish – My new favorite raw veggie.
•Eggs – Don’t overdo them, but eggs provide high quality protein and still cost about $1 per pound. (Plus, there are many eggscellent things you can do with the shells.)
•Green beans – Frozen, but fresh are sometimes on sale for under $1 a pound in-season.
•Greens – Kale, mustard, turnip, and collard greens are rich in vitamins and a good source of fiber. Here’s how I cook ’em.
•Grapes – Store special at 99 cents a pound.
•Grapefruit – Bake with a little brown sugar on top for a healthy dessert.
•Lentils – Perhaps the perfect food — healthy, cheap, and versatile. Think soups, salads, sandwich spreads — and those are only some of the “s” possibilities.
•Liver – Chicken livers usually cost under $1 a pound, and sometimes beef and pork liver can be found in the DMZ (“Dollar Maximum Zone”).
•Mangoes – High in fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C.
•Milk – Yep, on a per-pound basis, milk still costs well under $1 a pound.
•Napa cabbage – Delicious steamed or raw in a salad.
•Oatmeal – The good old-fashioned “slow cooking” kind … that takes all of five minutes.
•Onions – Try baking them whole in a cream sauce.
•Oranges – Frequent sale price when in-season.
•Pasta – Store special at 89 cents a pound — I nearly bought them out!
•Peanut butter – Special sale price, but stock up because it usually has a long shelf life.
•Pork – Inexpensive cuts of pork frequently go on sale for 99 cents per pound or less; sometimes even ham during the holidays.
•Potatoes – White and red, Baked, mashed, boiled, broiled, steamed.
•Pumpkin – Yes, you can eat the same ones you buy as holiday decorations, and they usually cost under 50 cents a pound.
•Rice – White for under $1 a pound; brown, a little more expensive but better for you.
•Rutabagas – Hated them as a kid; can’t get enough of them now.
•Sour cream – 99 cents on sale, but long shelf life, so stock up. My cucumber awaits.
•Spinach – Frozen (but Popeye doesn’t care).
•Split peas – Add a hambone and make the ultimate comfort soup. Try it in the crock-pot!
•Squash – Try baking acorn squash with a little brown sugar.
•Sweet corn – Canned or fresh on the cob, in-season. (Try this recipe for summer corn fritters.)
•Tomatoes – Canned are often better than fresh to use in cooking, and occasionally you can find fresh on sale for under a buck, in-season.
•Turkey – A popular bargain-priced, loss-leader around the holidays — buy an extra bird and freeze it for later.
•Turnips – Make me think of my grandparents, who always grew them.
•Watermelon – Whole, in-season melons can sometime cost less than 20 cents a pound if they’re on sale and you find a big one.
•Wine – Well, at least the stuff I drink — a 5-liter box (approximately 11 pounds) for about 10 bucks, on sale. (BTW, the beer I drink is even less expensive per pound.)
•Yams/sweet potatoes – One of the healthiest foods you can eat, and usually available year-round for under $1 a pound.
•Yogurt – 8-ounce containers on sale, two for $1.
•Zucchini – OK, they’re a type of squash (above). But I love them so much they deserve their own place on the list. Plus they look great in pantyhose.

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