Health & Wellness

The $1 Diet

05.25.11 Monetary concept

When you’re in a rush, you may be tempted to grab the chips, soda or candy. After all, they’re all inexpensive foods that can curb your appetite, right? But these foods certainly won’t do your waistline any favors, or your looks for that matter.  Can you grab quick, healthy eats on a budget?  Cotton Candy health contributor, Registered Dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition NYC, Amy Shapiro, says not only can you have filling snacks at a low cost, but they can also be appetizing.  Here are some tasty suggestions of healthy foods that cost less than $1 per serving.

1 ounce of walnuts (80 cents)

Walnuts are a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acid and may reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.

186 calories
4.3 grams of protein
18.5 grams of fat
0 milligrams of cholesterol
1.7 grams of saturated fat
3.9 grams of carbohydrates
0.7 grams of sugar
1.9 grams of fiber

1 banana (20 cents)

Bananas are rich in potassium, a nutrient especially important to replenish after a workout.  If you’re in a rush in the morning, try the one ounce of walnuts with one banana for a one-dollar healthy breakfast.

105 calories
1.3 grams protein
0.4 grams of fat
27 grams of carbohydrate
14.4 grams of sugar
3.1 grams of fiber
0 milligrams of cholesterol
0.1 grams of saturated fat

1 serving of akmak® 100% whole wheat crackers (76 cents)

A convenient and inexpensive whole grain snack, high in fiber and in taste.

115 calories
2 grams of fat
<0.5 grams saturated of fat
0 milligrams of cholesterol
220 milligrams of sodium
20 grams of carbohydrates
4 grams of fiber
0.6 grams of sugars
5 grams of protein

¼ cup nonfat or part-skim ricotta (58 cents)

A creamy, lower-sodium alternative to other cheeses. For a healthy and inexpensive way to satisfy a cheese and cracker craving, try ricotta spread on whole wheat crackers.

50 calories
0 grams of fat
0 grams saturated of fat
<5 milligrams of cholesterol
8 milligrams of sodium
2 grams of carbohydrates
0 grams of fiber
2 grams of  sugar
10 grams of protein

1lb jewel yams (99 cents)

Full of beta-carotene these yams will give you all the vitamin A your body needs for the day and may fight cancer too.

100 calories (medium sized, 130g)
0 grams of fat
0 grams of saturated fat
0 milligrams of cholesterol
70 milligrams of sodium
23 grams of carbohydrates
4 grams of fiber
7 grams of sugar
2 grams of protein

1/2 cup low-fat FAGE greek yogurt ($1)

Greek yogurt contains calcium and protein to build strong bones and to keep hunger at bay.  Buy the large container to keep cost down.

75 calories
2.25 grams of fat
1.5 grams of saturated fat
8 milligrams of cholesterol
37 milligrams of sodium
4.5 grams of carbohydrates
0 grams of fiber
4.5 grams of sugar
10 grams of protein

1 cup zucchini slices (75 cents)

Nineteen calories per cup, this is an inexpensive and low-calorie snack or side dish. More familiar with it cooked? It’s also just as good when served raw.

19 calories
1.4 grams of protein
0.4 grams of fat
3.5 grams of carbohydrates
2.8 grams of sugar
1.1 grams of fiber
0 milligrams of cholesterol
0.1 grams of saturated fat

1 cup quinoa (96 cents)

A protein-rich whole grain that cooks up in just a few minutes.   One cup (uncooked) makes six servings, so you can prepare food for your family or guests without breaking the bank.

80 calories (1/3 cup cooked)
1.25 grams of fat
0 grams of saturated fat
0 milligrams of cholesterol
5 milligrams of sodium
15 grams of carbohydrates
1.5 grams of fiber
0 grams of sugar
3 grams of protein

15oz can low sodium chickpeas (89 cents)

Legumes, like chickpeas, add soluble fiber and protein to any meal. Try adding them to salads or pasta dishes.

100 calories (½ cup serving)
0.5 grams of fat
0 grams of saturated fat
0 milligrams of cholesterol
120 milligrams of sodium
20 grams of carbohydrates
7 grams of fiber
0 grams of sugar
6 grams of protein

1 cup broccoli florets (76 cents)

In addition to being low in calories, cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, have been shown to be cardio-protective. Eat it raw, steamed, roasted or in omelets and stir-fries.

24 calories
2 grams of protein
0.3 grams of fat
4.7 grams of carbohydrates
1.2 grams of sugar
1.8 grams of fiber
0 milligrams of cholesterol
0 grams of saturated fat

1 Fuji apple (45 cents)

A sweet and satisfying snack that’s easy to take on the go.

95 calories (medium-sized)
0.5 grams of protein
0.3 grams of fat
25 grams of carbohydrates
18.9 grams of sugar
4.4 grams of fiber
0 milligrams of cholesterol
0 grams of saturated fat


Written by: Amy Shapiro MS, RD

Shapiro is the founder and director of Real Nutrition NYC, a Manhattan-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness. She has cultivated a local and national clientele for her lifestyle-minded approach, which integrates realistic food plans, smart eating habits, and active living based on the individual’s daily routine. She believes that through encouragement, education and the right tricks of the trade, anyone can achieve their nutritional goals while still enjoying the foods and flavors they crave

Cotton Candy Magazine®