Serving size: 1 cup
Approximate cost per serving (U.S.)*: 25 cents
Approximate fiber per serving: 13 grams
*Food prices vary widely; this is only an estimate based on recent U.S. averages.
For low-cost fiber, look no further than beans. Black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans -- they cost less than fruits and vegetables and pack far more fiber per serving. Depending on bean type, you can get from about 10 to more than 16 grams per serving.
And the price? The cheaper product is dried beans, rather than canned ones. For a 1-pound bag of dry beans, you'll probably pay less than $2. That bag will make approximately eight servings of beans, breaking down to about 25 cents per serving. If that serving holds black beans, you're paying a quarter to get about half of your daily dietary fiber.
While a healthy diet will probably never be the least expensive option, it doesn't have to be out of reach. To make your daily fiber requirement, look for the least-expensive food with the highest fiber content -- in most cases, this will be beans. Make chili, stew, cold salads, soups, baked beans or Mexican refried.
And remember: You don't need to go the organic route to be healthy. The less-expensive conventional stuff is full of the nutrients you need, too.
For more information on fiber, nutrition, and health, look over the links on the next page.