Nutrition Articles

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality

Finally, a few more hints that can help you save a little green:
  • When cooking a big meal, make extra to freeze, or use later in the week for lunches or quick suppers. Double recipes, then freeze half.
  • Save your vegetable trimmings to make your own vegetable stock. Not only do you save money, but vegetable stock also makes a nutritious base for casseroles, soups, and Crockpot cooking.
  • Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper; you can freeze perishable items (such as meat, milk, and even bread) in smaller portions to use as needed. It’s always a good idea to buy non-perishable items in bulk (canned foods, dried beans and grains, etc.).
  • Use less expensive cuts of meat for casseroles that you slow cook; add extra vegetables and beans to make the meal go further.
  • Capitalize on one-pot dishes, which generally save prep time, money, and dishwashing, and often make great leftovers.
  • Look high and low (literally) to find the less expensive generic or store brands on grocery shelves, often very similar to higher-priced brand names though packaged under different labels. Stores deliberately place the highest-priced brand-name items at eye level, but if you compare the cost per unit, you’ll be able to figure out the most cost-effective purchase. You can even try your own taste tests— blind, of course— to see where you can save money without sacrificing flavor.
  • Take advantage of specials on staples—broth, soups, pasta, rice, canned veggies, even bread and meat. Many of these items have a long shelf life or can be frozen for short periods of time.
  • Limit your dining out, especially when it comes to fast food, since you’ll find yourself spending unnecessarily on items that are high in fat, salt, and calories, which short-change you in the nutrition department.
There’s no magic formula to cooking on a budget. Like anything else worthwhile in life, it takes a little planning, creativity, and work. But if you think of the rewards—better health and more money—you’ll find it’s worth the effort. No doubt you’ll still have days when you fall back on that quick-fix packaged food or the local burger drive-thru. But if you look at cooking as an adventure, you’ll also have days when you find yourself pleased at what you’ve accomplished—as you serve dinner to rave reviews from family and friends!
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

    The website www.budgetbytes.c
    om has much better suggestions for delicious recipes that are inexpensive to make and go a long way (even in my household of 5). I know the article says to be flexible but I'm a picky eater and we all know it's not good to go without eating. The recipes on budgetbytes round out to around 300-500 calories a serving which is perfect for a meal. The woman who posts the recipes makes lots of use of vegetables, pasta, chicken, other meats, and beans and lentils. Check it out! You'll be glad you did! - 1/7/2016 10:22:54 AM
  • Hmmmm..... - 1/7/2016 7:08:30 AM
    ........ - 2/3/2015 9:02:24 AM
    These articles have got absolute sense devoid of confusing the readers.
    - 11/24/2014 11:47:59 PM
  • All these articles say to eat rice. Now it has been shown that rice has dangerous amounts of arsenic in it. If you have rice it says to boil it in 6 parts water to 1 part rice and then drain all the water off. It's pretty bad when it is always recommended for people who have a very limited budget to eat things that are not healthy. - 11/18/2014 7:26:22 PM
  • My tip is to be flexible and alway always check prices! I will eat most anything. My favorite grocery store has some of the best deals on produce if you can luck into them. I can get produce dirt cheap by looking at the prices and I check every time! (today scored brussel sprouts 40 cents/lbs, green onion for a quarter and organic leafy greens for 99 cents, usually costs three or four times as much!). I also bought 2lbs boxes of chicken breast for $1.99 because they were discontinued (usually $12). I have a place where meat is always cheap. I only buy yogurt if it's half off and/or have coupons to make it cheaper.

    I also like to make soup a lot by using up my veggies that are starting to get to end of life. it is always an interesting concoction but cram packed with nutrition. I like to add a pouch of Knorr tomato vegetable soup as a base but a big pot makes about 10 servings so it goes a long way.

    I don't eat canned food at all. I buy tomato soup for the kids and jarred pasta sauce and that's it. Beans are cheaper dried and don't take long to cook if soaked properly. I do buy big bags of frozen veggies as they are often on sale. - 6/7/2014 2:36:37 PM
  • I can't vote for any ONE of these choices, because use ALL of them, And coupons. Utilizing leftovers, and stretching them into other meals helps. It takes a little research into recipes and tweaking them to suit your needs and tastes, and make them seem new, but to me that's the fun part. I think utilizing a well stocked pantry and freezer can benefit ANY sized family. - 12/20/2013 8:21:50 AM
  • I agree with NTAR2200 - 10/16/2013 9:14:43 AM
    I find that shopping late evening in supermarkets you can get food thats greatly marked down in price. Thats in England anyhow. I have sometimes stood over the staff whilst they price stuff down then get it if I want it! Mainly, where veg is concerned, I buy stuff in season then freeze it before its out, so that through winter months I can still have choices of veg. ��! - 5/28/2013 9:09:44 AM
  • When making stocks and other things that have long cooking times I've wondered how much the cost of gas or electricity might add to the cost of the meal. Anyone have any insight into this? - 5/2/2013 12:47:57 PM
  • don't think batch cooking works well for one person you get tired of it before you eat it all and it often get lost in the freezer. buying in large amounts is not a good plan this would work for a family I am sure. - 5/2/2013 1:13:38 AM
    What they do not address here is how to eat healthy on a budget when you have different food allergies in your house. Trying to eat dairy-free, with one person needing a high-fiber diet (more raw veggies), and another needing a much lower-fiber (more cooked/processed veggies, less beans) makes it very hard. Grocery stores have figured out that it is very hard to make soy milk or rice milk, and adjust prices accordingly, even when bought in bulk. And when you make almost all of your own food, you have to have that stuff, even if you water it down with milk. This article did not give me any new information or ideas. I was very disappointed. - 5/1/2013 7:45:19 PM
    The dry mixes, hamburger/chicken helper--- though not healthy, can be stretched by adding additonal plain pasta or plain rice. This at least dilutes the sodium, and for me, I like the taste better this way. I also dilute the sodium of canned soups by adding an "extra" can of sodium free broth. You can toss in extra ingredients (added chicken, vegies, pasta) and make it hearty soup. - 5/1/2013 1:01:54 PM
  • A huge money saver that isn't listed is to limit your meat intake! It's so simple. Just cut down 1 meal per week, you will be saving money, helping the environment AND saving hundreds of animals per year! - 5/1/2013 12:02:31 PM
  • We buy fruit when it is at it's cheapest and in bulk and rather than let the strawberries and blueberries go bad we freeze them. - 5/1/2013 8:47:02 AM

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