Healthy Eating on a Budget

With all the extra expenses during the holiday season, it is tough to not short change healthy eating.

According to the traditional four person American household spends $10,995 per year on food. The USDA developed a tool to review the cost of food for American homes.

Here are some tips that can help you stay on track with your eating and budget this year![/vc_column_text]

Meal plan for the week. Set aside a few minutes before going to the grocery store to plan what you will have for dinner each night and then plan your shopping list based on the ingredients you need.

Only buy items you need for the week. Buying in bulk can be costly especially if most of it ends up in the trash can because it has expired before it’s eaten.

Decrease portions of more expensive items. For some recipes add half the meat portion and add a can of beans or frozen vegetables to fill the void.

Stock up on sale items. If your favorite frozen vegetable is on sale, buy a few extras. Or if ground beef or bread is on sale buy extra and freeze it. Just be sure to use them before they go bad.

Choose stews, casseroles, or soups to “stretch” more expensive items.

Look at newspapers, phone apps, and at the store for weekly specials or coupons to help get the best price on items.

Look at the “Unit Price” to compare the best price for items. Buying in bulk is not always the cheapest.

Buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season helps lower costs. Usually local produce has the best price.

Taking the time to prepare your own foods helps save money. Chop your own fruits/veggies, boil water to make your pasta/rice rather than purchasing the pre-cut fruits/vegetables and pre-packaged meals helps keep your food budget on track.

Use leftovers in creative ways. Throwing away food is costly. For example add leftover baked chicken to a soup/stew or a salad, or make tacos from leftover pulled pork.

Never go to the grocery store when hungry. Have a healthy snack prior to shopping to prevent impulse buys.

Go grocery shopping when stores are less crowded to prevent buying extra items not on the list while waiting in lines.

Save money when eating out by looking for coupons or promotions (early bird special, two dine for a set price, or kids eat free days), or share an entrée with a family member/friend, or take half of the meal home for dinner the next night.

Also, while eating out instead of ordering a sweet beverage, save money (and calories) by ordering water.


Enjoy these healthy, budget-friendly recipes!

We would love to hear what you think about these recipes!

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Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken & Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken & Black Bean Soup

Pork and Sweet Potato Hash

Pork and Sweet Potato Hash

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Holly White, RDN, LDN, CDE