Eat Healthy On a Budget

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Make a Plan

Set aside time to plan out what you will be making for the week. Create a realistic list of all the meals and snacks that you will need to have food prepared for. Using the list of meals and snacks, create a grocery list. Determine where you will shop for the best deal. Check the newspaper grocery ads for coupons or sales.

Stick to the List

Bring the grocery list to the store and stick to it. At the grocery store, you may feel like you need certain items, but stick to the list. Remember you already planned out all meals and snacks and this is the corresponding list of everything you will need. 

Freeze Leftovers

Get more bang for your buck! Food purchased in bulk are almost always cheaper. Make big batches of soups, stews, etc. Freeze leftovers in the fridge to easily pull out and reheat on busy nights. 

Eat Seasonally

Fruits and vegetables that are in season are a lot less expensive than out of season produce. Try to eat seasonally to save some money. Choose tomatoes & corn in summer and squash & citrus in winter.

Canned and Frozen Produce

There is nothing wrong with choosing canned or frozen produce. Often frozen produce is even more nutritious than fresh options because it is flash frozen right after picking. Be on the lookout for the sodium content in canned vegetables and added sugars in canned fruits. Choose low-sodium or no-salt canned vegetable options. Look at the nutrition facts label for canned fruit packed in their own juice instead of syrup.

Stock up on Low-Cost Foods

Some healthy foods are very affordable. Try to utilize more of the following foods to maximize nutrition and your budget.

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned salmon
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned crabmeat
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Quinoa

Make Homemade Snacks

Store-bought snacks may be convenient, but they are often very pricey and not usually nutritious. Make your own snacks at home. Create trail mix from nuts, dried fruit and whole grain cereals. Air-pop popcorn and load up on whole fresh fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, etc.). Take large tubs of cottage cheese or yogurt and divide into individual portions.

Eat More Meals At Home

It is way more cost-efficient to make your own meals at home than to eat takeout. Homemade foods are also more nutritious! Go back to basics and find simple, healthy recipes that you enjoy.

Material adapted from eatright.org

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