​Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Preparing meals at home gives you control over ingredients and cost. It all starts at the grocery store! Here are some tips for every aisle to help you eat healthy without overspending.

PROTEIN: Go meatless! Plant proteins are often a cheaper option than meat and have the added benefits of fiber to help keep you full longer. If you aren’t ready to go completely meat-free, cut your meat portions in half and add a meatless protein, such as beans to chilis, soups, and tacos!

GRAINS: Keep a pantry of whole grain staples to add heartiness to your meals. Buying full-sized boxes or bags instead of individual servings will help save money. Make a large batch to use for meals throughout the week to save time. Whole grains are great in soups, spaghetti, and stir-fry.

DAIRY: Dairy foods can be nutritious, inexpensive sources of protein. Buy items like yogurt in large containers instead of individual ones to get the best deal, and then portion them out at home in reusable containers. Remember to check sell-by dates to make sure you can finish the whole container before it expires. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy options for fewer calories and less fat with all the same nutrients!

FRUIT AND VEGGIES: If you are worried about finishing fresh produce, limit your choices to 2-3 fresh items and the rest canned or frozen so nothing goes to waste. Fresh fruit can be frozen to use later for smoothies or on top of yogurt!

Budget Bites

Practice

Try to make your favorite restaurant meal at home and compare the cost per person to what you would have spent eating out.

Recipes

Spanish Chickpeas and Rice

Shakshuka

References

“Eating Healthy on a Budget.” Choose My Plate. United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget