Best produce to buy when looking to get a bang for your buck

Lianne Frick/Staff

Cooking on a budget is a feeling we know too well here at the Clog. How many times have you picked something up at the market, mouthwatering, and thinking, Mmmm, I’ve been craving this forever. Can’t wait to eat … $7 for peanut butter — no thanks — as you put the jar back on its shelf. It’s a scene that happens to me with every trip I make to the market, regardless of what I’m craving. In the end, I come home to a fridge full of jumbled foods that can’t necessarily be eaten together, or can only be used together to make one type of food. Sound familiar? That’s why I’m here to help with our readers’ grocery shopping, to promote healthy living, at a healthy budget.


Garlic is an amazing food that can be incorporated into almost any meal to add that extra pop of flavor or spice. If used religiously, the garlic will not go bad, and you’ll find that your foods, whether it be stir-fried veggies, pasta, or fried rice, adds an oomph and another dimension to your food. Garlic can regularly be found for about $0.30 to $0.50 per bulb at grocery stores.


You may know carrots as being the veggie that enhances your eyesight from your childhood. However, there are many other reasons to consume this yummy vegetable. Carrots are versatile, and can be eaten raw, steamed, or stir-fried. When you’re in a rush for class, just pack a couple carrots with some hummus for a quick snack. When you’re ready for some hearty dinner, throw these into a pan and roast them. Carrots tend to be around $0.50 each at grocery stores.


Spinach is another iconic veggie from our childhoods (hello, Popeye!). Though you may not become jacked overnight as a result of consuming spinach, it’s true that this leafy green is full of nutrients to help detox your body. Consume in a smoothie, with grains, or in a salad! Grocery stores carry spinach usually for $0.50 to $0.60 per cup.

Sweet potatoes

These beautiful tubers are an amazing low-calorie food that you can incorporate in your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Bake overnight and drizzle some cinnamon and spread some almond butter on top as a healthy breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. Add to curries or bake sweet potato rounds as a filling lunch or dinner. Sweet potatoes are a great substitute for higher calorie carbs. They are often around $1 per pound at grocery stores.


Bananas are wild! You can use this fruit in smoothies or simply eat them on your way to class. But did you know bananas can be used to bake? You can even make simple three-ingredient pancakes using bananas, eggs and baking powder.  It’s a great alternative to using flour and helps make sweet treats guilt-free. Bananas go for about $0.50 to $0.60 per pound at grocery stores.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, keep these ingredients in mind for yummy and affordable dishes to last you all week.

Contact Chelsea Song at [email protected].