6 Inexpensive but Healthy Pantry Staples

Eating healthy is expensive. The price tag on organic foods and pretty much all unpackaged foods is expensive. But this is a list of 9 healthy and versatile food items that you can keep on hand that are healthy AND cheap!

1. Eggs


Eggs are full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are easy to prepare and so versatile. Brinner anyone?

2. Chicken Breasts
When you buy chicken breasts in bulk, you can save some serious cash. Buy them and freeze them in smaller packages. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to add chicken to almost any dish! Adding chicken is great for all the protein you’ll be adding to any meal. For a quick weeknight meal, pull your chicken out to defrost before work. Then when you get home season it up and grill it. Add a salad or roasted or grilled veggie and you have dinner in less than 30!

3. Oatmeal


Oatmeal is a great addition to the pantry staples. It is a quick breakfast that will keep you full for hours with its high fiber content. It is also great for managing cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

4. Barley

Barley is a great substitute for rice. It is a great source of fiber and fights high cholesterol too! You can use it in casseroles or in barley risotto. Make sure you rinse the barley well before use. Because it is so versatile, you can cook it in any kind of broth and it can enhance and bring out the best in any meal. Just make sure you use a complimenting flavor. When you’re cooking barley, remember that it stores well. It will freeze in an airtight container and will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge as well. It is great cold and added to Greek salads.

5. Black beans

Dried black beans are cheap and versatile. They are a great source of vegetarian protein. They make a great filler. Black bean Soup is easy, delicious, and great for you! In a large pot, saute garlic, onion, and a bit of butter until the onions are translucent. Add water or vegetable broth and the dried beans to the pot and boil for one hour. Then toss them in the crock pot with salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Place three cups of beans in the food processor and blend until smooth. Stir back into the soup. Then serve with a dollop of sour cream, a couple of cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime. Healthy, filling, and delicious!

6. Nuts


Nuts are a great snack. They are full of protein, fiber, calcium, and monounsaturated fatty acids thought to benefit blood vessels. This is a great recipe for a nutty, delicious post or pre-workout snack. Or just when you need a mid-day energy burst.

Date Energy Balls

  1. 2 cups walnuts, or other nut/seed of choice
  2. 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  3. 2 cups soft Medjool dates, pitted
  4. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, process the nuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed.
  2. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the freezer to set for at least an hour before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life.
  3. For a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling!