Better on a Budget

The U.S. Department of Agriculture put out a flyer that we keep here at the Pantry, available to all the wonderful guests we receive on a daily basis.

It’s titled, “eating better on a budget” and provides 10 healthy tips to help stretch your food dollars. Part of the reason we at the Pantry have a blog, is to inform our viewers. So listen closely, for we are educating you, the viewer, on the ever-so-common struggle of food budgeting.

1. Plan before going grocery shopping.

“Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which stretch expensive items into more portions.”

Planning is such a vital step in budgeting. My grandpa once told me,"when you plan for something, it usually prevents poor performance." In this life, I don't think I've ever heard a truer statement.

2. Get the best price.

“Look for specials or sales on meat and seafood—often the most expensive items on your list."

Keeping an eye out for sales and specials will be nice in the long-run. Food like meat and seafood often make up the main course of a dinner. Proteins such as these are, often times, the most pricey items for most meals. Saving a dollar here or there might be more beneficial than you know!

3. Compare and contrast.

“Locate the unit price on the shelf directly below the product. Use it to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical."

Shop smart. Eat good meals cheap. It's really that simple, folks.

4.Buy in bulk.

“Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables.”

In addition, it’s probably smart to make sure you have enough space in your freezer before you start buying!

5. Buy in season.

“Buying fruits and vegetables in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness! If you are not going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen.”

Let's be real here, in season fruits taste so much better.

6. Convenience costs

“Convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant rice, oatmeal, or grits will cost you more than if you were to make them from scratch.”

Carve time out in your day to make dinners from scratch. You’ll feel great about the cooking and the flavor will have that extra ounce of homemade love.

7. Easy on your wallet.

“Try beans for a less expensive protein food. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens, or potatoes. As for fruits, apples and bananas are good choices. “

It may be hard to believe, but you can eat wholesome, healthy meals at an affordable price. It’s easier than you think!

8. Cook once…eat all week!

“Prepare a large batch of favorite recipes on your day off (double or triple the recipe). Freeze in individual containers. Use them throughout the week and you won’t have to spend money on take-out meals.

This is an especially helpful tip for those who do not enjoy cooking every single day of the week! You can never go wrong with leftovers if frozen or refrigerated properly!

9. Get your creative juices flowing.

“Spice up your leftovers—use them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad, or to make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away your money!”

10. Eating out.

Going out to eat is expensive. A better way to eating at restaurants is to keep an eye out for early bird specials. As for beverages, stick with waters to keep the bill down!

We hope you enjoy this list for eating better on a budget! This list is borrowed from the United States Department of Agriculture’s center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Happy budgeting!

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