The Poverty Diet: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to eat really healthy while on a low income budget? Did you ever realize that there is a way to eat healthy for low income families?

The Poverty Diet is a low income diet plan that provides all the essential nutrients and vitamins while staying low in cost.

Sometimes we run into a tight spot in life and need to keep our budget really low for our food expenses. Luckily, the poverty diet helps us stay healthy while reducing our expenses on food.

What is in the poverty diet…

Eating Healthy on a Low Income Budget

The poverty diet is meant for those who are on a low income budget and are looking for healthy alternatives to fast food.

What is healthy and what are healthy foods?

Healthy foods are foods that provide nutrients and vitamins and assist with reaching your nutrition goals. Apples and bananas are great for providing fiber and potassium. Chicken provides essential protein, along with steak and eggs. These are a couple of examples.

Fast foods are considered unhealthy because they don’t provide many nutrients and/or vitamins, if any at all, and are loaded with calories which lead to weight gain.

How much does the poverty diet cost?

The poverty diet is meant for those who are looking to spend less than $200 per month on food.

The goal will be to consume foods that have Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, Fiber, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, and Zinc. These are the essential micronutrients your body needs, and the poverty diet provides you with all of them. Another focus will be to ensure that you consume enough protein.

The Poverty Diet Explained

As mentioned above, the poverty diet provides you with all of the essential vitamins, nutrients, and protein.

In order for the poverty diet to work, you will need to cook all of your meals. Eating out at restaurants is not an option. Restaurants are really expensive in comparison with cooking at home and all meals don’t come with a nutrition label, leaving you clueless to what’s actually in the food you’re eating.

One thing to keep in mind: there is no need to overeat. Follow the package’s nutrition label and only eat according to the servings. In order to get 100% of your daily Vitamin A, you will only need to eat one serving of carrots. Therefore, there is no need to eat more than one serving.

Let’s begin with Vitamin A…

Sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and milk all contain Vitamin A. Carrots are the best option for price since you get 10 servings per package for around $2-$3. Carrots are very versatile since they can be eaten cold out of the fridge or eaten after being boiled or baked.

Another option is sweet potatoes. Protein will be consumed from meats, likely steak or chicken. Sweet potatoes go great with either option. Sweet potatoes are very affordable, and you can consume your daily Vitamin A in about half of a sweet potato. Sweet potatoes can be found for around $1 at your local market.

Kale, spinach, broccoli all contain Vitamin A and are recommended because they provide so many nutrients in one food source.

sweet potatoes on the poverty diet

Vitamin B….

Tuna and bananas. Tuna provides good protein per serving, is easy to cook and eat, and is recommended for Vitamin B.

Bananas are also a great source for potassium, and as you’ll see later, will be consumed as part of the poverty diet because of that. However, a combination of both tuna and bananas ensure that you receive your daily allotment of Vitamin B.

banana on the poverty diet

Vitamin C…

Spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado

Having spinach or kale salads provide your daily allotment of BOTH Vitamin A and Vitamin C. A few days worth of spinach and kale can be bought for around $5.

In addition, avocados provide essential healthy fats, are a great source for calories, and provide Vitamin C. Some people enjoy adding them to salads.

Combining both spinach and kale with avocado ensures you that your daily allotment of Vitamin C will be reached. Adding broccoli to the salad is just a healthy cherry on top.

Broccoli on the poverty diet

Vitamin D

Go for a walk twice daily!!

If you’re unable to see the sun, milk provides some Vitamin D if you choose Vitamin D milk. Milk provides great protein as well.

Some people are against consuming dairy, which leaves going for a walk as the best option for Vitamin D without supplements.

the sun on a field of green plants

Vitamin E…

Peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and almonds. All three items high in Vitamin E are high in healthy fats which are essential in a well rounded diet. Eating a cup of almonds provides more than enough Vitamin E for your entire day. Just one cup has over 180% of your daily Vitamin E.

Peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and almonds are all great snack choices. Instead of unhealthy and salty potato chips, aim to snack on some nuts and seeds.

almonds on the poverty diet

Vitamin K…

Kale and spinach. As mentioned previously, these two power foods provide quite the nutritious punch and provide more than just great taste in a salad.

A great lunch option would be a kale and spinach salad topped with nuts and almonds, chicken, and light salad dressing.


Fiber is essential for cleaning out the colon and reduces the effect of carbs on weight loss/control. Foods containing adequate amounts of fiber are broccoli, avocado, peanut butter, apple, banana, fruit, black beans, and sweet potatoes.

Since all other options have been mentioned, black beans will get their proper attention in the fiber section. Black beans are really high in fiber in each serving and work really well with chicken.

With nearly 15 grams of fiber per serving, black beans have a net carb ratio of only 8. In addition, black beans have almost 10 grams of protein per serving. These two reasons are why this food option is considered a power food.

black beans on the poverty diet


Spinach, broccoli, kale, and milk.

Similar to previous paragraphs, spinach, broccoli, and kale provide a great source of almost all vitamins. The best source of calcium is milk.

Almost all dairy products are really high in calcium and you can’t go wrong with yogurt, cheese, or milk.


Bananas! They make another return.


Ground beef and steak. Steak is expensive at a steak house, but on the poverty diet, steak isn’t so expensive when purchased at the local supermarket and cooked at home. Unfortunately, the poverty diet isn’t for those looking to eat filet mignon, but there are plenty of affordable steak options.

Steak is really high in protein so no more than 4-6 ounces are needed to ensure good amount of iron and protein. Steak can be bought for around $6 per pound. There are 4 servings in one pound, leaving a serving for about $1.50. One serving of steak next to sweet potatoes and kale packs a nutritious punch and is delicious.


In order to get 100% of your daily allotment of zinc, I’d recommend taking a zinc supplement. They are very affordable and provide an easy option for zinc.

Step by Step process to eating healthy on the poverty diet

1. Choose the foods that you’d like to eat from above. The options are a little limited but the poverty diet focuses on consuming healthy items at a really low and affordable price.
2. Go to the grocery store and buy enough for a week. By not overspending and buying in too much bulk, no food will go to waste.
3. Eat enough protein and healthy fats. The carbs will be easy to consume. Protein and fats are the hardest to eat adequately enough. If you’re eating too much protein or need to reduce expenses a little bit, eliminate a protein option. Steak, chicken, and meats in general have more than enough protein for a day’s worth.
4. Stick with it.
5. Stay away from fast food, sugary items, and restaurants. Eliminating food high in sugar will reduce body weight, improve happiness, and lead to a healthier lifestyle.
6. Eliminate wasteful foods. There are so many options for snacks in grocery stores and almost all of them are a waste of money, don’t have any nutritional value, and shouldn’t be consumed while on the poverty diet.

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