Vegetables are a crucial component of any diet. But few Americans eat enough of them per day.

According to the CDC, 10% of adults surveyed in 2019 met the daily intake recommendation for vegetables. That percentage is even lower for low-income adults — 6.8%.

So which vegetables can increase those percentages? Here are five of the healthiest and cheapest options out there.

How many vegetables do you need per day?

The USDA’s MyPlate program suggests eating between 2.5 and four cups of vegetables per day, depending on your age, weight and level of physical activity.

Some examples of how much of a vegetable counts as a cup include:

  • One avocado.
  • Two medium carrots.
  • One large ear of corn.
  • One cup of cooked kale.
  • One large bell pepper.

A 2021 analysis shared by Harvard Health emphasized that it’s important to incorporate a wide variety of not just vegetables, but also fruits into your diet.

The study found that eating fruits and vegetables packed with vitamin C and beta carotene, as well as green leafy vegetables, produced the biggest health benefits.

“These are primary sources of antioxidants that may play a role in preventing cancer,” explained Daniel Wang, lead author of the analysis.

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Healthy, affordable vegetables

Here’s a list of 5 healthy vegetables — that are also affordable.

1. Butternut Squash

Compared to other forms of squash, butternut squash is the most nutrient-dense option available.

WebMD states that one serving of it can give you:

  • More than 100% of the vitamin A daily requirement.
  • Close to 40% of the vitamin C daily requirement.
  • About 15% of the magnesium daily requirement.

Butternut squash also helps to protect your eyes and manage your blood pressure. It could even lower your risk of colorectal cancer with its dietary fiber content, per WebMD.

Healthline estimates that butternut squash costs $1.29 per pound, on average.

2. Carrots

Known for aiding in eye health, carrots are a nutritious and versatile vegetable.

According to EatingWell, carrots help boost the body’s defense system, prevent cognitive decline and fight off inflammation.

In addition, carrots “have a whole shebang of antioxidants that are beneficial to fight free radicals in the body,” registered dietitian Grace Derocha told Today.

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Healthline estimates that carrots cost $0.77 per pound, on average.

3. Onions

Whether white, red or yellow, onions are nutritious.

Medical News Today reports that onions help to moderate blood pressure, build and maintain collagen and may aid in preventing stomach and colorectal cancers.

Healthline estimates that onions cost roughly $1.05 per pound.

4. Spinach

As a versatile green for salads or smoothies, spinach is one of the best vegetables to incorporate into your diet.

Spinach is packed with vitamin K, and each serving contains a significant amount of vitamin A and folate — the latter of which helps to convert food into fuel for energy, per Cleveland Clinic. It also helps to lower blood pressure, boost brain health and aids in overall blood health.

Healthline estimates that a bag of spinach costs about $3.83 per pound.

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5. Sweet Potatoes

EatingWell says that sweet potatoes may help improve blood cholesterol levels, may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and may support overall gastrointestinal health.

Healthline estimates sweet potatoes cost only $1.05 a pound.