A Broke & Busy Girl’s Guide to Superfoods.

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It’s possible to practice mindful eating without breaking the bank.

I should know. When I was a student paying my way through school, my budget was tight!

Maybe you can’t afford a grocery run at Whole Foods—and that’s okay. There are equally healthy, inexpensive alternatives at your local Farmer’s Market or chain grocery store.

The key is prioritizing the produce with the highest nutritional benefits. Fill your shopping basket with the right ingredients, and you’ll be set! This is especially important if you’re either vegan or vegetarian; it’s crucial that you get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. These superfoods take the guess work out of eating well and are so delicious that eating them can feel indulgent!


Blueberries are one of the hardest-working superfoods on the market. A recent study conducted at Harvard links eating blueberries and strawberries to improved heart health.

However, that’s just one of the myriad benefits of eating blueberries. They can also aid in the prevention of memory loss and improve your attention span! If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia or have trouble focusing, consider adding these little suckers to your meals!

Blueberries can be thrown into cereal, eaten with yogurt, tossed into salads, and even paired with dessert. Opt for an organic version whenever possible!


I actually prefer tea over coffee for a couple of reasons. While a good cup of joe can be a great way to start the day, if you’re prone to anxiety and/or mood disorders, tea might be the better option for you.

Try and stick to a caffeine-free version if you are sensitive to the stimulant. Black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong… there are tons of varieties to choose from, and tea is a fantastic antioxidant!

Plus, tea is simple to make, ubiquitous, and can be bought in bulk! Consider getting a tea strainer for added sustainability.


A mood booster, cocoa actually releases endorphins, causing you to feel happy and invigorated! It’s cheaper than getting a therapist, and definitely more tasty! The next time you need a minor “pick me up,” consider adding this to your plate.


If you are expecting, consider giving cauliflower a try. It’s a great option for pregnant women because cauliflower aids in proper fetal development. This is because the vegetable acts as a detoxifying agent, ridding the liver of harmful chemicals. Healthy Mama, healthy baby! Check out this great oven-roasted cauliflower recipe. It includes olive oil, garlic, and lemon! Yummy!


This leafy vegetable is definitely having a moment, and for good reason. Did you know that kale contains more iron than steak and more vitamin C than an orange? That’s insane, and great news for vegans who are trying to get essential nutrients.

The health benefits make kale an essential part of any diet. If you aren’t a fan of the taste, you can even put it in a smoothie with fruit and/or greek yogurt.

Chia Seeds

If you’re having trouble concentrating, chia seeds can provide a quick cure! They’re energy boosters and also full of calcium! In fact, one spoonful actually contains more calcium than a glass of milk (which is great for me because I’m lactose intolerant). Many people use them as thickeners in soup, meatballs, etc. They can be a bit pricey, but one bag will last you a long time, so it’s a good investment!

There you have it! My top superfood picks that are sure to keep you mentally and physically satisfied and feeling fantastic on any budget! What are your thoughts? Would you add any of these to your diet? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!





Editor: Catherine Monkman

Images: Used with Permission from Fair & Flawless & Cassie Brewer, Flickr

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Cassie Brewer

Cassie Brewer is a journalist living in Southern California. She is passionate about helping others look and feel their best and finds that one of the best ways to accomplish this is through the foods that we eat.

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anonymous Mar 28, 2016 11:59am

The only thing on this list that poor people could actually afford is eggs. Everything else is actually quite expensive. This reminds me of Gwyneth Paltrow’s completely unrealistic idea of what to buy with food stamps.

anonymous Nov 19, 2015 3:20pm

Great article! I personally love the chia seeds and acai juice. Great in a morning smoothie.

anonymous Aug 12, 2015 4:29pm

well i might just try the coconut oil in my smoothies if i learn one thing out of anything i read Im happy. Keep an open mind and do whatever works for you thats all. if it dont fit your budget taste or lifestyle then skip it.

anonymous Aug 10, 2015 3:58am

Cocoa is treated and has chemical additives. It is also heated to a degree that destroys the goodness of the original raw product. Cacao on the other hand, if organic, untreated and fair trade, and not heated too high IS actually a superfood that is nourishing and good for you. But it is expensive compared to mass produced cocoa. A lot of cocoa is made from modified, cheaper mass-breed plants that are grown on ex-Forrest slash and burn land, and not fair trade. It is what most chocolate is made from. Be careful what you buy: cocoa and cacao are not the same thing!

anonymous May 31, 2015 8:19am

I liked this article! Blueberries are the cheapest berry at my grocery store so in my books they qualify as affordable for sure. I understand that theoretically an article could be written about how to eat with even less money than this, but with my frame of reference with my grocery store, these are all within a price spectrum I’d be hovering in. Other than chia seeds but Chia seeds DO go a lonnnnng way. I are chia seeds while pregnant and could never even finish a whole bag. Chia seeds stretch, they’re not something you could afford to do in an instant as a meal replacer, they’re an investment that you buy on a day you can afford it, and can snack on to keep you up on days where finding food is trickier. I found this helpful and appreciate it a lot (especially considering how impossible it seems to financially pull of a lot of the diets in other superfood articles)

anonymous May 31, 2015 1:43am

First of all, being "broke" is relative. The person that wrote this most likely has never been as broke as possibly someone who is homeless or a single mom of two on a crap salary with a chronic disease who is forced to shell out 1/4 of her monthly income on healthcare insurance because paying for just one of her meds per month is more than her rent for the whole month!!! It's definitely relative! Being broke that is… One persons idea of broke could be "the electric got shut off and we can't afford to get it back on until next months check comes in" while another's could be "guess I have to resort to blueberries and organic cauliflower but it's ok because they're not only cheap—they are tasty."

anonymous May 30, 2015 11:16pm

I’m not trolling – and assure you, TJSQ, sane and mature. I appreciate your article for offering sort-of-affordable-sometimes-ish superfoods. But as someone who’s actually broke – like – one-meal-a-day broke, this was dissapointing. Was super excited to read.. but, when you’re down to your last $5 and have to feed yourself for a week, you are not going to spend that on blueberries and tea. In all honesty, I don’t think broke and superfood can live in the same sentence. To be truly broke means scrounging for rice, beans, lentils, oats, carrots, and potatoes… and a heaping serving of “I’m just glad I get to eat SOMETHING today”.

If I’m wrong – correct me. If anyone has actual awesome “living on $1 / day” superfood meal ideas, I am all ears.

    anonymous Mar 28, 2016 4:05pm

    Exactly what I thought reading this! This is not "broke" – chia seeds, blueberries.. insanely expensive.. Definitely not within my budget at the moment!

anonymous May 30, 2015 2:03pm

Wow, so glad other sane and emotional mature people have commented to hopefully override the unwarranted negativity :/ I loved your article! Please don't for a minute spend any energy on those horrible bast comments, remember "hurt people, hurt". Don't take it personal, cuz seriously it really is all about them and their issues!! Keep up the great work lady!!!

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 5:32am

Totally making all these into a smoothie. Im going to live forever!

anonymous Feb 8, 2015 9:45pm

I think a human’s guide would be more appropriate… I guess men aren’t capable of eating healthy?

anonymous Feb 8, 2015 8:20pm

I enjoyed your article. Wasn’t expecting an essay so had no problem with lack of references – wld do a quick Google search for further verification. Surprised by the negative reactions on this post. Keep doing what you’re doing girl, haters will hate.

anonymous Jan 28, 2015 6:55am

good idea for developed countries but you get into problems if you try this approach in third world countries. For example, here in Pakistan we have an electricity demand of 20,0000 MWh but the production at the moment is around 12,000 MWh, causing frequent blackouts in the country. Trying to combat this shortfall with renewables will take decades and will involve the amount of money that the government or the IPPs will never be able to raise. Clean development mechanism (CDM) defined in Kyoto protocols did offer a hope but the real beneficiaries again are the developed nations.

anonymous Jan 25, 2015 4:03pm

Chia seeds are extremely expensive. And collards, chard and watercress are actually more nutritious than kale…and the omegas in salmon and those in flax are unfortunately quite different…flax is a good option for a vegan, but if you eat fish the omegas are better.

anonymous Jan 20, 2015 5:17pm

Hate to break it to you but blueberries aren’t cheap. And I am definitely on a budget. Kale is great though! I love the elephant don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’d be nice to see sources on where your nutritional information is coming from. Thanks!

anonymous Jan 20, 2015 3:51pm

I was pleasantly surprised by this article. I thought it was upbeat, and unique. I don’t usually read nutrition articles, but I learned something new about the liver-cleansing properties of cauliflower and the calcium in kale. I thought the article was succinct and interesting. More please, Cassie (esp with the ‘broke’ angle lots of healthy suggestions tend to be too expensive)!

anonymous Jan 20, 2015 2:59pm

Where are the author's qualifications? Where's the bibliography, listing scientific journals and studies that are the source of information for these assertions?

anonymous Jan 20, 2015 12:12am

People are so rude. And childish! You are the ones who will end up with some chronic illness, if you don't already have it, just from being so mean. Freedom of speech, right? Karma is a bitch. Internet Trolls

anonymous Nov 25, 2014 3:45am

cocoa actually releases endorphins, causing you to feel happy and invigorated! It’s cheaper than getting a therapist, and definitely more tasty! The next time you need a minor “pick me up,” consider adding this to your plate.

anonymous Oct 27, 2014 8:40pm

The farmer market here is just as expensive as WF. If you like the warm fuzzy feeling of giving a farmer more money then it is worth the inconvenience of buying your veggies with in a five hour time frame on a Saturday morning.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 6:32am

I have to reply, when comparing exact product for exact same product, I have found whole foods to always be cheaper, I do work at whole foods, but I too shop at conventional stores as my bank is in one of them. And when I compare exact products WF is cheaper, if you compare the "regular" produce for WF produce, it may be cheaper at the conventional store but that produce comes with all of the "extras" I don't want in my produce. So after you compare the two for the exact same thing, I will read what you have to say. Saying WF is too expensive is just the easy thing to say.

anonymous Oct 17, 2014 11:00pm

“It’s cheaper than getting a therapist, and definitely more tasty! ”

Wow. Just…wow.

anonymous Oct 17, 2014 11:00am

The author has no understanding of health foods. Raw food better than cooked? Are you kidding me? Please don't put your teenager fad cap on us.