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Has your doctor told you of late that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables? Have you ever wondered how you could afford that? If this is where you currently find yourself, and you’re wondering what exactly is the cheapest produce at the grocery store, we’re here to help.
We’re going to be taking a look at what the cheapest produce is at your favorite local grocer so that you can look after your health in as frugal a manner as possible.
How we’re going to be making our judgments…
It’s not exactly fair to say that a single apple is cheaper than a bag of grapes. We need a set structure to determine what is actually cheaper. We want to compare apples to apples, right? So, to do that, we’re going to be comparing the price of various forms of produce per pound.
To determine the number of calories in each food, we’re going to be using CalorieKing.com. Let’s dive right in. All of our prices are going to come from the Etowah, Tennessee Piggly Wiggly, all the foods are the raw version (no frozen or canned options), and nothing is organic.
This does force us to have to do a little bit of math here. So, 2.5 bananas is a pound and costs $0.65.
Please don’t try to walk out of the store with half a banana. They don’t like that. Once you get home with your fully intact bananas, know that there are a number of Frugalite-friendly things you can do with the peel that may save you a little bit of cash.
Next on the list would be oranges. An orange costs $0.98 each and weighs an average of 8.9 oz. If we do a little math, this comes in then at something like $0.77/pound. This $0.77 will give you 86 calories as well.
A single red delicious apple holds approximately 93 calories and costs 99 cents/pound. The average red delicious weighs half a pound, so this would mean that a single red delicious apple would cost you right at 50 cents. Two red delicious apples would then cost a dollar.
So, apples come in at roughly $1.00/pound.
Seeing that these are such an inexpensive form of produce, buy a bunch when they’re in season, and learn how to preserve them. You may be able to save yourself a bit of money during the off-season this way.
If pears are more your style than apples, you’re going to end up spending $2.29/pound for 103 calories per fruit. Seeing that there’s nothing else that pairs with stinky cheese like a good, ripe pear, this is well worth the cost in my book.
Radishes are surprisingly pricey for the number of calories you’ll get. You’ll spend $2.49/pound for radishes, with each radish giving you a single calorie. Since each radish weighs about 2 oz, you’ll pay $2.49 for eight calories. Personally, when I buy food, I aim to buy food, but hey, you do you.
From a calorie standpoint, here’s another food that doesn’t make a lot of sense for the money. You’ll pay $2.99/pound here with each stalk having six calories. Every bunch of celery I’ve ever seen has maybe 12 different stalks to it, so you’re looking at 72 calories costing you $2.99 here.
Peaches are an expensive fruit, and if you’ve ever attempted to grow these little boogers, you know why. Everything kills them, and everything eats them. If you can successfully fight off the fungi, the wasps, the ants, the birds, the deer, and every other creature out there, you may get a peach. Maybe.
This is another fruit that costs us a little bit of math to figure out the answer to. You’ll typically pay $2.99/pint. A pint of blueberries weighs around 12 oz. So, that means blueberries cost an average of $3.99/pound. You’ll find this is pretty typical for berries. They’re expensive.
Strawberries cost $3.99/pound as well, so you’ll spend the same here as you would for blueberries. See what I mean about berries being priced pretty similarly?
There are a host of options for lettuce out there, but let’s stick with romaine hearts for the sake of brevity. You’ll spend $6.99 for 22 oz, with lettuce having 33 calories/7.3 oz. That’s about $7.00 for 100 calories. Personally, I would just say to grow your own. You can pick up a packet of lettuce seeds for right around $2.00, and if you can wait a month, you’ll have as much lettuce as you could want for weeks on end.
This will give you an idea of what the cheapest produce is at your local grocery store.
There’s going to be a bit of variability depending on where you are at, but this approximate guideline should serve you pretty well. If you’re looking to up your intake of fruits/veggies, but really need to watch every nickel and dime that you spend, you’re may want to want to stick with apples, oranges, and bananas. It’s hard to find a fruit or veggie that is cheaper than these three, and they’re full of all kinds of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber too.
What are your thoughts on the price of produce? Do you have any tips for finding inexpensive fruits and vegetables? Are there other fruits and veggies you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.