As we get into the swing of fall, it’s time to refresh your grocery list. If you’re on the hunt for budget-friendly, healthy food picks, Walmart is one of the best places to shop. Here, nutrition pros share their favorite grocery items perfect for autumn dishes that won’t break the bank.
“Frozen vegetables are a healthy budget-friendly option at only $1 per 12-ounce bag, which breaks down to 25 cents per serving,” says Amy Davis, a registered dietitian. “This blend of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower is a great way to add volume and nutrition to your meals, with only 25 calories per serving.” Davis recommends adding these to a warming chicken soup, a hearty stir-fry, or a breakfast frittata.
If you’re making a fall-inspired pasta bake, pump up the protein with chickpea pasta. “You can get a box of Banza chickpea pasta at Walmart for less than $3, making it a seriously affordable plant-based protein to feed the entire family,” notes Natalie Rizzo, a registered dietitian and founder of Greenletes. “I personally like to cook up a big batch and add veggies, garlic and olive oil for a simple dinner that comes together in 15 minutes. And the best part is that the leftovers taste great cold as a pasta salad the next day.”
“Peanut butter offers 8 grams of plant-based protein and 16 grams of healthy fats at only 21 cents per 2-tablespoon serving. Talk about bang for your buck,” Davis points out. “Just be sure to look for an option with no added sugar or palm oil, like this Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter. Spread some peanut butter over whole-grain toast and top with berries for a healthier PB&J, or add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie to help you stay fuller for longer.”
There’s nothing better for rapidly cooling weather than a warm grain bowl or lentil soup. “I’m a huge fan of using lentils in a variety of dishes, but cooking dry lentils can take up to 45 minutes,” Rizzo says. “That’s why I like these pre-cooked lentils that cost about $1.50 and only take 60 seconds in the microwave to heat up.”
Tempeh is one of Rizzo’s go-to, plant-based proteins because it has 18 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. And you can get an entire block of tempeh for less than $3 at Walmart. “One of the easiest ways to use tempeh is to crumble it and use it in place of taco meat,” Rizzo explains. “Season with your favorite taco seasoning and cook in a pan for 5 minutes to have a meatless, high-protein dish.”
With fall activities picking up speed, sometimes you need a quick snack on the go, and nutrition bars tend to be easy to grab on the fly. But some nutrition bars can cost close to $3. “These fruit bars are only about $1 per bar, and they contain two servings of fruit and about 4 grams of fiber per serving,” Davis notes. “Plus, they’re free of all common allergens because of the simple ingredient list. They’re great as an on-the-go snack for traveling and hiking.”
CLICK TO TWEET THIS ARTICLE > Dietitians share their favorite budget-friendly groceries for fall from @Walmart, via @myfitnesspal.
“I love these organic oats from Bob’s Red Mill,” says Marissa Meshulam, a registered dietitian. “At 55 cents a serving, they’re a nutrient-dense way to get in some soluble fiber, which is great for our gut and heart health.” Meshulam likes to use these oats in homemade granola or for making oat cookies.
As fall’s football season rolls around, finding healthy game-day snacks can be tricky. “I like these better-for-you chips because they contain just three simple ingredients — corn, oil and salt — and are lighter than traditional potato chips,” Rizzo says. Even better, each bag comes in right under $3. Rizzo recommends noshing on them with some form of protein, like hummus or a Greek yogurt dip, to keep you full all afternoon.
“When you’re in a time crunch, putting a well-balanced meal together may seem impossible,” says Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietitian. “These salad kits are available in several different flavors, come with dressing and delicious toppings, and are so versatile. I’ll often add some leftover protein from the night before for a quick lunch, or top with hard-boiled eggs, shelled edamame or tuna for other easy ways to boost protein. Because nearly everything you need for a meal is included in this kit, and you could easily split one bag across two meals.”
Meshulam relies on cans of wild-caught salmon for a budget-friendly source of omega-3’s and protein. “I love making salmon burgers or salmon salad (the same way you would make tuna salad) and putting it on a bed of greens. At 74-cents a serving, this is a budget-friendly way to incorporate salmon into your life (much cheaper than fresh!).”
Walmart is a fantastic place to grab some fall-friendly, well-priced groceries. From fresh produce to protein sources and even snack foods, you’ll find a host of dietitian-approved options.
Make progress every day while you work on mini fitness and nutrition goals, like walking more steps or learning to track macros. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app for daily coaching and easy-to-follow tasks to keep you motivated.