Skip To Content

    5 Long-Lasting Superfoods That Aren't Super Expensive

    Buy in bulk, reap the rewards, save some green.

    Brooke Greenberg / BuzzFeed

    We’ve all heard the term before: superfood. No, we’re not talking about a cape-wearing, spandex-clad snack (but also let’s reconsider that statement, because not all heroes wear capes).

    Simply put, superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that provide a ton of minerals and vitamins in concentrated amounts. We’re talking grub that’ll serve up antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, protein, calcium, and iron, among other things that are — wait for it — super good for you.

    Superfoods are known to improve health and potentially help ward off things like heart disease, diabetes, and digestive issues. But are they worth it, and where the heck do you start?

    To get the most out of these nutrient-rich foods, it pays to know exactly what you’re getting. So we sat down with Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder and director of Real Nutrition, to discuss which superfoods can give you the best bang for your buck and maintain a reasonably long shelf life. Below you’ll find Shapiro’s picks for the foods that pack a serious wellness punch.

    Dark Leafy Greens

    Dagmar's Kitchen / Via

    Shelf Life: Up to 1 year when stored frozen

    These come to you in the familiar form of spinach, kale, collards, and arugula (to name a few). Yes, you’ve grabbed them fresh from the produce aisle, but have you ever purchased them frozen or in bulk? Heads-up: It’s time to start. They’re extremely low in calories, yet very filling, and can aid in liver detoxification, proper digestion, and skin and eye health. The benign flavor of spinach makes it versatile enough to add to stir-fries, omelets, or smoothies, while kale makes an excellent base for a salad. We recommend visiting your local grocery store to load up. $1.50 per bunch (frozen)

    Chia Seeds

    Fit Foodie Finds / Via

    Shelf Life: Up to 4-5 years

    Enter the most versatile superfood! Chia seeds are high in omega-3s and fiber. They also help with hydration because they absorb water and can retain electrolytes. And the best part? You can sprinkle them into literally anything: salads, yogurts, baked goods, smoothies, and acai bowls. They have a mild nutty flavor, but don’t worry about them spoiling a recipe; any other competing flavor will mask them. Shapiro also let us know that a little goes a long way. One bag can last you months if you’re adding a tablespoon to a recipe. Plus, their shelf life is significant, so you can keep them in your cabinet or your fridge for a long, long time. $9-$13 per pound

    Canned Wild Salmon

    Honestly Yum / Via

    Shelf Life: Up to 3 years

    Wild salmon needs no introduction. Delicious in nature and free from dyes and farm feed, wild salmon can be formed into patties or added to a salad or grain bowl. And we love the benefits: high protein, no chemical additives, plus lots of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and potassium.

    For bonus points, Shapiro recommends canned sardines. They’re stereotypically kind of stinky but an excellent source of omega-3s and protein, so think of them as a superior choice to tuna; plus, they’re easily transportable. $2-$9 per can per brand


    Sally's Baking Addiction / Via

    Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year

    Family-friendly, cost-effective, and proven to be naturally calming: We’re talking about cacao, of course. If you’re thinking of chocolate…you’re not totally wrong. Cacao refers to the dried seeds at the root of chocolate, which are high in magnesium, antioxidants, calcium, zinc, copper, and selenium. You can put them in your coffee, baked goods, or even use them to make your own hot chocolate. Shapiro also mentioned cacao may help with depression, and acts as a natural mood booster due to its ability to trigger neurotransmitters associated with serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. Sold. $0.45 per ounce

    Wild Blueberries

    Damn Delicious / Via

    Shelf Life: Up to 1 year when stored frozen

    Lovely in color, loaded with antioxidants. You may be questioning how, exactly, wild blueberries are different than their cultivated brothers and sisters. The answer is the way they’re grown. They aren’t planted, and they contain a higher level of antioxidants, have a more intense flavor, and are typically smaller in size (so you get more in a package). Their benefits are unending, however, as Shaprio says they can help with weight loss, brain health, and heart and cognitive functions. You can get them year-round in the freezer section, so you’ll never be stuck without them in your smoothie or atop your yogurt. We also recommend tossing them into your morning oatmeal. $3 for 10 ounces