Healthy Food Doesn't Have to be Expensive

How do you eat well on a budget?  First, eat at home!  Eating out is expensive and very often restaurant food is high in fat and calories.  Your family will eat so much better around your kitchen table!

You will need 3 main skills to eat meals at home on a budget:

  1. Plan meals ahead of time.
  2. Purchase food carefully to save money. 
  3. Prepare your own foods. 

Planning Meals Ahead of Time
Set aside some time to plan meals for a week.

  • Check for sales and coupons in the newspaper and online.
  • Look in your refrigerator and cabinets to see what you already have.
  • Choose a simple recipe or two to try.
  • Plan the meals you will have each day for the coming week. Think about what is on sale, what you have on hand and what your family likes to eat.  Write it down!
  • Make a shopping list of the foods that you will need to buy.

There are many ways to save money at the grocery store. Here are a few.

  •  Buy groceries when you are NOT hungry.
  •  If possible, shop alone  (so you can take the time to compare prices). 
  • Shop once a week.
  • Stick to your list unless you see a bargain that you know you will use.
  • Buy store brands -- they are usually cheaper than name brands.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are "in season".  
  • Avoid convenience foods.  They usually will cost more.
Take time to learn to cook.
  • Start with simple foods and enjoy your success in a great meal!
  • Look at cookbooks or online and learn the basics.
  • Make double the amount of food that you will need and store some in the freezer for a later date.
  • Have your children help in the kitchen.  They will love it, and are more likely to eat foods that thye have helped prepare.

This will be a start to cooking foods at home. For more information on planning healthy meals, shopping tips, cooking and recipe ideas, check out the Eat Smart website or USDA MyPlate Website.  


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall