Smart Quiz: What Meal Gets You the Most Nutrition for Least Amount of Money?
- Beans and Rice
- Frozen Pot Pie
- PB and Jelly Sandwich
Answer: Beans and Rice
Whether planning meals for one or a family of 10, it’s important to provide good, solid nutrition while staying within the budget. Penny for penny and pound for pound, a solid meal of beans and rice can do both. Keep reading to find out how.
Beans and Rice for Nutrition
While pinto or black beans may be the first to come to mind, there are quite a few varieties that can be used to create healthy meals. Lentils, chickpeas and peanuts are part of the bean family, all with different nutritional values. Beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein. They are low in calories, gluten free, and cholesterol free. Some varieties contain nutrients like copper, iron and B vitamins. Nutrition factors do vary by variety, so keep that in mind as you work to create a balanced meal plan.
Like beans, there are many varieties of rice to choose from, but the most common for cooking are white and brown. While brown rice is considered healthier due to its much higher fiber content, white rice is comparable in terms of vitamins and other nutrients. Rice is high in carbs and vitamins, making it filling and healthy at the same time.
In 2017, the average price of one pound of long grain white rice in the United States was just 71 cents. A pound averages 11 one cup servings and you can often save even more if you buy in bulk. For example, a 20-pound bag can be found in 2018 for roughly 43 cents per pound. Brown rice is a bit more expensive and has a shorter shelf life than white rice. However, it can still be found for a decent price of 67 cents per pound in a 5-pound bag.
Beans come two ways, canned or dry. While canned beans are cost-effective and convenient because they are ready to use, dry beans are considerably cheaper. According to The Bean Institute and based on a 2015 survey of supermarket prices, a pound of dry pinto beans was $1.79, resulting in approximately 12 servings. A 15-ounce can nets only about 3 servings at a cost of $1.69. Prices will vary by bean type.
Assuming you purchased white rice in bulk and dried pinto beans, each meal serving costs under 20 cents. That’s one cup of rice and a half cup of beans.
Spice Things Up
While beans and rice sound like a pretty hum-drum meal, it doesn’t have to be. Alternating bean and rice varieties and experimenting with different spice blends will result in a broad range of meal options. Each of these blends, even with a few added ingredients, still averages under $1 per serving.
- Black beans and brown rice
- Spanish rice and beans
- Cajun red beans and rice
- Mexican beans and rice
- Italian white beans and rice soup
- Baked lentils and brown rice
- Pinto beans and rice soft tacos
No matter how you fix them, beans and rice offer a great way to save money on your grocery bill while feeding your family healthy and nutritious meals.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health!