I’m a huge fan of fantastic frugal foods. I’ve written previously on these whole “real foods” and defined them as frugalicious. Frugalicious is a word I made up to describe foods which are delicious, frugal, and healthy. I’ve even updated my handy dandy spell checker to confirm frugalicious as a valid word.

Since I hate fake food and would rather see you eat healthfully and frugally, I’ve put together a list of my favorite frugal foods. Some of these foods you’ll easily recognize while others may be new to you. Don’t be shy, give them a try!

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Here are my top ten fantastic frugalicious foods to keep you healthy and wealthy:

1. Dried Beans:

I love soaking and cooking dried beans. Dried beans are cheap, healthy, environmentally friendly, protein rich, and delicious. If you love beans like I do, try switching from canned to dried to frugally save big bucks. If you’re not convinced, here’s ten reasons why you should become a keener beaner and get soaked with dried beans.

2. Quinoa:

Have you heard of quinoa? Well let me introduce you to this nutritional marvel. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) packs a nutritional punch. It is a tiny sesame-seed size grain high in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa can be used in place of rice or other similar grains. I eat it for breakfast (like oatmeal) with milk and apples. Quinoa is a super frugalicious food packed with health benefits. To buy quinoa just check out the grocery bulk section.

3. Natural Peanut Butter:

Are you nuts for peanuts? I sure am. I love natural yummy peanut butter. The ingredients on my jar are simply: peanuts. Avoid the hydrogenated butters with added salt and sugar. Food companies like to hydrogenate their butters to prevent the oil from separating. Hydrogenation is terrible for your heart and health. If you don’t like the peanut oil on top, then just drain it in the sink. The added bonus is you’ll have a lower fat peanut butter.

4. Flax:

My nutritionist friends are always singing the praises of flax seed and flax seed oil. I only started adding flax to my oatmeal, salad dressing, and smoothies. Apparently, flax contains high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids (which are kinda good for you). Lignans may benefit the heart and may possess anti-cancer properties. I’m not a flax expert or anything, but I’m happy to add a source of Omega-3 to my diet frugally. If you get whole flax seeds, you gotta grind them to enable full digestion and absorption of all the good flax stuff. I use my coffee grinder for the flax grinding task

5. Quark:

Ever heard of quark? No worries, I hadn’t either until my European “better half” introduced me to quark a few years ago. Originating from Germany, quark is a wonderfully versatile smooth cheese with a light, tangy flavor. Quark is kind of a cross between cheese and yogurt. It is created from either skim milk, partially skim milk, or whole milk. I usually eat quark prepared in a German dessert called “Quarkspeise”. In this recipe the quark is mixed with several cups of orange juice to sweeten the cheese and turn it into more of a yogurt consistency. Fresh fruits like strawberries, mango, and apples are then added to taste. This is one delicious frugalicious dish.

6. Eggs:

What can I say about eggs? They are affordable, healthful, and yummy. Eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A good source of protein, eggs are an eggceptionally flexible food as they can be fried, boiled (hard or soft), tossed, scrambled, steamed, or turned into a flavorful omelet. If you are concerned about cholesterol and fat, try eating just the egg white. I often have egg white omelets for breakfast or lunch.

7. Fruits:

I love frugalicious fruit. My favorites are apples, oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit, mangos, pears, bananas, and on and on. Fruits are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits are affordable and healthy. For a fun healthy snack, I slice an apple and add a little bit of peanut butter for dipping. Yummy.

8. Veggies:

Eat your vegetables. Vegetables are essential to any frugalicious diet. I often eat leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, green peas, green beans, kale, salad…I could go on forever. I love veggies, and usually fill my grocery cart with affordable, yummy for my tummy, slimming veggies. Many green veggies are high in calcium and excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.

9. Lean meats:

OK, buying meat can be an expensive source of protein. But if you purchase small quantities of organic meats, you can be frugal by maximizing healthful cuts with smaller portion sizes. If you’re a vegetarian or on a strict protein budget, buy dried beans and soak them. I tend to buy small portions of lean fish, chicken, and beef. I also eat a lot of beans.

10. Steel Cut Oatmeal:

Stop buying instant and rolled oatmeal and give steel cut oatmeal a try! Steel cut oatmeal is by far the tastiest and arguably most nutritious oatmeal around. Steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces. These oat pieces take longer to cook than other precooked varieties, but are well worth the extra cooking time. The texture is creamy and chewy and far better than any instant or near instant breakfast cereal. Steel cut oatmeal is high in fiber, low in fat, contains protein, iron, and has no cholesterol. I buy mine for cents and pennies in bulk food stores. To prepare my oats, I just cook a batch Sunday evening, refrigerate, and microwave a portion each morning with some fruit. It’s quick, healthy, and easy if you plan a little ahead of time. If you love oatmeal, do yourself a frugalicious favor by forgoing the packaged sugar icky types and trying steel cut.

Frugalicious foods just make sense. What are your favorite frugalicious foods?