8 Cheap Foods for Your Low-Carb Diet

Article posted in: Nutrition
assorted olives in a jar with rosemary

On a budget? You can still rock this low-carb diet thing. There are (at least) eight staples listed below that cost less than $4 per item and they’re full of nutrition—not carbs. Buy one of each of these cheap foods and you’re looking at a grocery bill around $25.

1. Eggs

eggs in a carton

For less than $3, you can have up to six breakfasts or lunches all but covered, thanks to the incredible, edible, protein-rich egg. There are several articles on The Palm that have been written on the health benefits of eggs (Like this one! >). So poach them. Scramble them. Go over easy or rock sunny-side-up. We think you’ll also love this One-Pan Cauliflower Hash Brown Skillet with Eggs and Sausage! >

2. Peanut Butter

jar of peanut butter with a spoon

You would think that the more ingredients an item contains, the higher the bill. But, that’s not the case when it comes to peanut butter. Manufacturers add sugar and hydrogenated oils to ensure a longer shelf life, which means the “bad stuff” is the cheapest. However, even a jar of fresh peanut butter (which just contains peanuts and maybe a little salt) is also cheap. This is usually less than $4 and one serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons, which means you’ve got lots to work with for not a lot of money. Store fresh peanut butter in the fridge to maximize shelf life. Or, fill up an ice cube tray with two-tablespoon servings and freeze. It’s like peanut butter ripple on demand. Try making these easy Peanut Butter Pancakes! >

3. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese in a wooden bowl with a spoon

Cottage cheese has been readily accessible for generations. For less than $4, you can buy a large container of 4% milk fat cottage cheese and have it alone for breakfast, use it as a dipper for fresh veggies (add a packet of ranch dressing mix!) or use it in veggie lasagnas, stuffed chicken breast or even dessert. Get creative with these seven tips! > One serving of cottage cheese is a half-cup.

4. Olives

assorted olives in a small bowl with rosemary

Green. Black. Purple. It doesn’t matter what olive you pick, they’re all delicious, nutritious and cheap. A jar of brine-cured manzanilla olives is around $3 and one Healthy Fat serving is a half-cup. They’re salty like your favorite munchies and perfect for snacking. But you can also make a quick tapenade—an olive-based spread delicious on sandwiches, as a dressing or stuffed in mushrooms (which are also cheap!). This Cod with Almond-Basil Relish recipe features olives in the delicious, homemade relish topping.

5. Broccoli

broccoli heads on a cutting board

The beauty of broccoli is that it’s entirely edible. The leaves make a terrific salad, smoothie add-in or cream of broccoli soup. The stems make great dippers or chips. And the florets? Well, they’re delicious every way around. All of this adds up to a versatile, valuable veggie. One pound of this cruciferous veggie is less than $3 and yet broccoli is loaded with nutrition. Frozen broccoli is also inexpensive and versatile. Pay attention the next time your supermarket has a BOGO and stock up! You’ll be making this Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe every week.

6. Onions

sliced red and white onions

A little onion goes a long way. And you can get a whole bag of onions for less than $4. These flavorful veggies top our list of always-keep-on-hand items. They can last a month or more in a cool, dark place. Onions don’t really like refrigeration so they do best stored in the basement, bottom of your pantry or a cupboard. Roast them, sauté them, caramelize them, grill them or enjoy them raw. Red, white and yellow onions are all approved non-starchy vegetables on the South Beach Diet. One serving is a half-cup cooked or one cup raw. Try them raw in this simple Tomato Salsa with Avocado and Onion recipe! >

7. Canned Tomatoes

canned tomatoes

A 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes is about $2. There are usually between five and six tomatoes in each can, depending on the variety. There are tomatoes canned with spices, some that are fire roasted and more. All are approved non-starchy veggies on the South Beach Diet. While maybe not as tasty on a cheeseburger, canned tomatoes are perfect as recipe add-ins. Try them in morning omelets, soups or casseroles. We love the flavor they add to this Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps recipe! >

8. Deli Meat

stack of sliced chicken breast deli meat

Perhaps the most convenient low-carb food on the planet, deli meat is accessible and affordable—usually less than $4 per half-pound. And, there’s lots of variety to choose from…turkey, ham, chicken and roast beef. Even prosciutto and salami are approved Proteins on the South Beach Diet. One serving is two ounces or about two to three slices. Just watch the additives and rubs. Avoid maple, honey or brown-sugar cured meats. And when possible, read the ingredients label. Beware the peanut butter factor here—more ingredients are not better. Deli meats can be full of chemical preservatives and “natural” preservatives like salt and sugar. Look for brands that are as basic and nutritious as possible.