What do poor people eat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “ what do poor people eat?”. We will also talk about health disorders related to the food poor people eat.

What do poor people eat?

Everyone wants to feed their families and get fed good and nutritious meals every day. The food prices pose a significant barrier for many poor people that are trying to balance good nutrition with affordability.

The quality and balance of nutrition in family meals depends on the income and financial situation of the household. The poor income people’s diet lacks high-quality proteins, whole grains, and an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits as they are expensive to buy and feed a whole family.

Low-cost energy-rich starches, added sugar foods, and vegetable fats represent the cheapest way to fill the hungry stomachs of poor people. 

The poor people eat mostly cereals, pasta, legumes, and canned foods like canned corn, canned legumes, and canned fruits. Vegetables include lettuce, potatoes, cabbages, and squash. They limit their fruit intake to just bananas, cheap oranges, and apples. 

Oil and mayonnaise, sugar, and white bread also top the list of poor people’s pantries. These foods are high in carbohydrates which are low-cost, high-energy-yielding foods. Here we will talk more about some of the foods that poor people eat.


Bananas are a bargain to buy. They are cheaper than other fruits and are packed with sugar, vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium. They also contain heart-healthy fibre and are rich in antioxidants that support health.


Legumes are a rich source of protein and fibre and are beneficial to help enhance the microbiome to keep a healthy gut. Legumes are one of the foods that should be added to the everyday diet to stay healthy. Legumes include chickpeas, kidney beans, broad beans, pinto beans, lentils, soybeans, peanuts clover, etc.

Canned fish

Canned tuna or salmon are a cheap alternative to the expensive fresh ones. Canned fish is a low-cost protein source that is packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for a healthy body. 


Eating chicken is a cheap way of adding all the essential protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fibre, and other vitamins and minerals to your diet. This economical and healthy meat option is very popular among poor people.


Eggs are a great source of protein and can be consumed in a variety of ways such as boiled, poached, scrambled, or made into an omelette. Eggs that are not organic and free-range are rather cheaper to buy and are very healthy and filling to add to the diet.


Oats are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre which helps in lowering blood cholesterol. The fibre in the oats also helps slow glucose absorption, which is helpful for diabetic people.

Why do poor people suffer from more diseases?

Poverty occurs when an individual or family lacks the resources to provide basic life necessities such as food, clean water, shelter, and clothing. It also includes a lack of access to healthcare, education, and transportation. 

The people who are poor or are in poor communities are at increased risk for mental illness, chronic diseases, higher mortality, and lower life expectancy. 

The prevalence of poverty in the world is an important health issue. Beginning before birth and continuing throughout an individual’s life, poverty can significantly impact health and health outcomes.

Poverty restricts the resources used to avoid risks and adopt healthy behaviours. Poverty affects health by limiting access to proper nutrition and healthy foods, shelter, a safe neighbourhood to live and work, clean air and water, utilities, and other elements that define an individual’s standard of living.

Individuals who are in poverty are most likely to experience poor health due to a combination of these factors. Being poor does not cause disease, instead, poverty affects both the likelihood that an individual will have risk factors for disease and the ability and opportunity to prevent and manage the disease.

What are the health disorders that poor people suffer from?

HIV, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and malaria as well as respiratory diseases such as pneumonia are the major diseases that affect poor people and take their lives. Diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malaria account for nearly half of all child deaths globally in poor communities.

The biggest non-communicable diseases that are related to poor nutrition are cardiovascular disease and non-communicable respiratory disease.

Nutritional deficiency causes many illnesses that can affect the lives of poor people. They may include eating disorders, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes mellitus.

They also include developmental abnormalities such as inadequate growth and development in children, low birth weight in infants, diminished mental function and increased susceptibility to disease.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “what do poor people eat?”. We also talked about the health disorders related to the food poor people eat.