The 5 best superfoods for when you’re on a budget

Sweet potatoes. Picture supplied

Sweet potatoes. Picture supplied

Published Jun 21, 2023


It might be difficult to maintain a nutritious diet on a limited budget - but it's not impossible.

Due to the high cost of many nutrient-dense foods, some consumers choose to substitute it for cheap junk food. But you may find lots of inexpensive, wholesome foods that are simple to incorporate into your diet.

Many food options are now out of reach for many South Africans due to rising food prices.

The tendency is frequently to go back to less expensive, less wholesome foods that fill stomachs without promoting children's health or physical development.

The five cheapest superfoods to add to your shopping list have been identified by Mbali Mapholi, Laager Rooibos partner dietician, in an effort to buck this trend and ensure that South Africans receive the nutrition they need on a budget.

The typical home food basket, which consists of 44 fundamental food items, increased in price by 13.1% compared to February 2022, according to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity (PMBEJD) group's most recent home Affordability Index. Instead of R4 355.70, South Africans would now pay R4 928.34.

Canned beans. Picture supplied

"Superfoods is a marketing word that has become more well-known recently, and while it may not have a clear meaning or scientific foundation, it can be a valuable tool to help consumers include more nutrient-dense foods in their diets“, claimed Mapholi.

People may be more likely to try particular foods if they are promoted as superfoods and benefit from their nutritious value.

Below, Mapholi shares her list of the top 5 super-affordable superfoods.

Rooibos tea

An excellent substitute for regular tea or coffee, Rooibos tea is also naturally caffeine-free, making it a perfect beverage for kids.

For hot days, this cost-effective superfood that is brimming with advantages, can be frozen as ice lollipops or put into a delectable iced tea.

Sweet potatoes

Worldwide, sweet potatoes, a sweet and starchy root vegetable, are produced.

The best sources of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene, which strengthens immunity and supports healthy vision) are sweet potatoes, according to studies.

Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, minerals like potassium and thiamine, and antioxidants support healthy brain function and fight free radicals that lead to disease. These erratic chemicals have the potential to harm cells.

The Health Sciences Academy claims that vitamin A supports healthy vision, skin, reproductive, and immunological systems. Vitamin C aids in wound healing, improves iron absorption, and maintains and repairs cartilage, teeth, and bones.

Sweet potatoes may add bulk to a variety of delectable meals and are also reasonably priced.

They are affordable whether bought from local markets or supermarkets and can be cultivated as part of a home vegetable garden.

Canned beans

According to the Food Network, beans are a member of the family of plants known as legumes that create pods containing seeds.

They serve as a staple diet in various cultures and are a valuable source of critical elements like iron and folate as well as plant-based protein.

One of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat is canned beans, which is why they are regarded as a "superfood".

Beans can prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and perhaps even some malignancies since they are high in fibre.

This is a cost-effective and practical approach includes protein and fibre in meals.


Oats are a natural superfood since they are 100% whole grain with little processing, include vitamins, minerals like iron and zinc, and fibre, according to registered dietician Kelly Lynch.

Because they are one of the richest sources of beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that helps reduce cholesterol reabsorption, oats are exceptional in this regard.

Oats are a fantastic choice for breakfast since they can support sensations of fullness for a longer period of time.

Choose the classic unflavored and unsweetened varieties to reap the full benefits of this inexpensive superfood.

Frozen fruits and vegetables

Many people are unaware that adding extra produce to the diet can be done affordably by using frozen fruits and vegetables.

They can be used in a variety of dishes, such as smoothies and stir-fries, and are frequently just as nutrient-dense as fresh alternatives.

A nutritious diet need not be pricey. You can buy a lot of inexpensive, nutrient-dense foods without breaking the wallet.

In actuality, some wholesome foods are less expensive than packaged junk food.

Read the latest issue of HEALTH digital magazine here.