We are living in an era of extreme health—more and more people want to know what's going into their food, where it's from, and what it's made of. For some, eating healthy is an easy stop at Whole Foods—a salad from the salad bar, green smoothie, and vegan maple walnut cookie (my personal favorites). And although it's easy to blow through $30 at Whole Foods, this type of lifestyle is no longer attainable for me, considering I am now a college student. 

There are many people who turn a blind eye to healthy eating because of costs alone. However, socioeconomic status should not be a pre-determinant of health and should not control how people's bodies are fueled. Contrary to societal beliefs, there are many healthy grocery items that are inexpensive, packed with nutrition, and intended to fuel a happy & healthy body.

1. Eggs

bread, toast, egg, egg yolk, croque madame
Julia Maguire

Eggs are truly nothing to yolk around about. At a mere $.50 per serving, filled with soluble proteins, zinc, and iron, eggs are the perfect morning pick-me-up. Don't have the time to prepare eggs in the morning? This 2-minute eggs in the microwave recipe is sure to curb any hanger. 

2. Oats

sweet, cereal, milk, blueberry, muesli, oatmeal, porridge, berry, yogurt, granola
Becky Hughes

Oats are another satisfying way to meet breakfast needs (and are an excuse to pile on as much peanut butter and chocolate as one's heart desires). Oatmeal is a breakfast I eat regularly and for good reason: It fuels me all day long.

What I love most about oatmeal are the endless combinations of fruits, seeds, and everything in between. And the cost? Less than $.50 per serving. It's October everyone—time to step up the oat game.

3. Tofu

dairy product, milk, cheese, dairy, tofu, goats cheese
Helena Lin

The cheapest (and most protein-dense) item found when perusing the grocery aisles is tofu—a food with a mixed reputation. Tofu is a textbook example of the phrase, "don't judge a book by its cover."

At first glance, it's just a mushy block of soy. However, prepared properly and crisped to perfection, tofu is a whirlwind of flavors and widely consumed today for its high-protein, low-fat repute. 

4. Canned/Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

blueberry, sweet, berry, cream, yogurt
Natsuko Mazany

As a student, it can be difficult to acquire fruits and veggies, especially for a reasonable price. Although fresh fruits and veggies are sometimes preferred, canned and frozen alternatives are sold at a much cheaper price than fresh.

Because they are picked at the peak of freshness, they oftentimes have the same nutritional content as their fresh counterparts.  I typically use these alternatives as add-ins to certain dishes including oatmeal, smoothies, and stir fries!

5. Bananas

banana, vegetable
Abigail Wang

The one fruit that I prefer buying fresh, costing about $2 per bunch and packed with potassium, is bananas. They contain the most nutrients and flavor at their ripest (and most freckly) state, and that is also when they are most versatile.

If you have never experimented with banana bread in the microwave before, now is the time to start. I never fully understood Gwen Stefani's B-A-N-A-N-A-S until I started grocery shopping on my own. That sh*t really is bananas, but at least now I can do it confidently and at an affordable price. 

After a long day of adult-ing, healthy eating may not be the first thing on your plate. Nonetheless, you need to get something on your plate, therefore grocery shopping is an inevitable task. However, it's not about complete monetary limit—it's about being smart, conscious, and confident in a culture that convinces people of their inability to do so.