You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to eat nutritiously if you’re smart about planning, purchasing, and preparing your food.
- Plan meals and snacks for a week, taking into account how much money you have to spend on food.
- Make a grocery list.
- Check for sales and coupons in your local newspaper and online.
- Ask whether your local grocery store offers a loyalty card.
- Stick to your grocery list.
- Buy store brands if they are cheaper.
- Buy some items in bulk or family packs, which tend to have a lower per-unit price.
- Shy away from convenient foods such as pre-cut produce, individual cups of yogurt, and instant, individualized hot cereals and rice.
- Focus on low-cost items that are available all year.
- Protein — beans such as garbanzo, black, and cannellini
- Vegetables — carrots, greens, and potatoes
- Fruit — apples and bananas
- Some meals can be made in advance; pre-cook meals on days when you have time and store them in the refrigerator (if you plan to use them within three or four days) or freezer.
- Double or triple recipes and freeze the extra in meal-sized containers or individual portions for later.
- Use leftover items in future meals.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion