Making nutritious food choices can be difficult on a limited budget. Choosing the foods you purchase carefully can help you maximize nutrition while sticking to your budget.
Breads and grains
- Look for bargains on day-old bread and bakery products.
- Buy regular rice, oatmeal and grits instead of the instant and flavored types.
- Try whole-grain bread and brown rice to add nutrients and variety to meals.
Vegetables and salads
- Look for large bags of frozen vegetables. They may be bargains and you can cook the amount you need, close the bag tightly and freeze the rest.
- Foods at salad bars can be costly; most will cost less in the produce section. But if you only need a small amount of a vegetable, buying at the salad bar can save money if it reduces the amount you waste.
- Buy fresh fruits in season, when they generally cost less.
- Nonfat dry milk is the least expensive way to buy milk. When using it as a beverage, mix it several hours ahead and refrigerate before drinking.
- Buy fresh milk in large containers (gallon or ½ gallon). These cost less than quarts.
- Buy fat-free or low-fat milk to cut the amount of fat in your family’s diet. Note that children under 2 years of age should only be given whole milk.
Meat and poultry
- Look for specials at the meat counter. Buying cuts of meat on sale can mean big savings for you.
- Buy chuck or bottom round roast instead of sirloin. These cuts have less fat and cost less. (They need to be covered during cooking and cooked longer to make the meat tender.)
- Buy whole chickens and cut them into serving-size pieces yourself.
Dry beans and peas
- Use these sometimes instead of meat, poultry or fish. They cost less and provide many of the same nutrients. They are also lower in fat.