8. Fresh Bagged Spinach
Great for: Quick salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What's a serving? If you use it for a main-dish salad, about 4 cups makes a serving. If you sauté it and add to an omelet, or use it for a side salad, about 2 cups is a serving.
Price per serving: 66 cents for a 4-cup serving; 33 cents for a 2-cup serving. A bag (9 ounces) of washed spinach leaves sells for about $1.99.
Nutrition info per serving: 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid.
9. Canned Refried Beans
Great for: Burritos, nachos, dips, enchiladas, or a quick side dish.
What's a serving? Each can has about 3.5 servings, based on 1/2-cup servings.
Price per serving: About 34 cents. You can buy a 15-ounce can of store brand vegetarian refried beans for about $1.19.
Nutrition info per serving: About 140 calories (for the vegetarian type), 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 4% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron.
10. Canned Tuna
Great for: Sandwiches, casseroles, several types of salads, and to serve with crackers.
Note: Due to levels of mercury detected in canned tuna (with higher levels in albacore tuna than canned light tuna), the FDA recommends that pregnant women, women who are trying to become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week. The FDA also recommends that those women not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish due to high mercury levels. In my opinion, it would probably be best for pregnant women to avoid canned tuna altogether and to choose lower-mercury seafood instead.
What's a serving? A 6-ounce can contains around 2 servings.
Price per serving: About 70 cents for chunk white albacore in water. You can buy a 6-ounce can of solid white albacore in water for about $1.99, or a 6-ounce can of chunk white albacore in water for about $1.39. The best deal is usually with chunk light in water for 85 cents per 6-ounce can.
Nutrition info per serving: About 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (0.5 gram), 60 calories, and 13 grams of protein.