“I can’t afford to eat healthy.” This is a common thought for people when grocery shopping. Fresh produce and fresh meat can be expensive while highly processed foods are often cheaper but lack key nutrients. Eating healthy and balanced doesn’t have to be expensive.

Tips for Shopping on a Budget

Follow these tips when grocery shopping to get nutritious meals on a budget!

  • Buy frozen produce; picked and frozen at peak ripeness to get the most nutrients
  • Buy produce that is in season; Minnesota Seasonal Produce is a good resource for finding out what is currently in season
  • Check the ad before shopping and have a plan; eating on a budget can get boring and monotonous, but checking the weekly grocery ad for sales on produce or meat can add variety
  • Join your grocery store’s loyalty program; this can save you money as coupons are often only available to loyalty customers

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Picking Canned & Dried Options

Canned products can also be a great, inexpensive choice for healthy food options. Pick no salt added vegetables and fruit canned in a natural 100% fruit juice. Canned beans are a great source of protein and fiber and are relatively inexpensive. Bulk brown rice and dried beans are both very inexpensive and are a filling option to add whole grains, fiber, and protein to your meals.

Healthy Recipe for $1.25/serving

Check out this sample meal that is only $1.25 per serving!

Brown Rice Stir Fry

Brown rice      1/4c serving    $0.10

Pinto beans     1/2c serving    $0.25

Mixed veggies 2/3c serving    $0.25

Large egg        1                      $0.13

Low sodium soy sauce 1tbsp  $0.10

Apple                                       $0.25

Skim milk 1c                            $0.17

$1.25

This meal would make a fried rice style dish and contains each food group category needed for a balanced meal at an impressively cheap cost per serving. Using ingredients such as rice, beans, and frozen vegetables can save money while being versatile, filling, and nutritious. Healthy Eating on a Budget provides additional tips.

 

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Sarah Kalkhoff

Hy-Vee Dietetic Intern