For families working with a tight budget, eating healthy can sometimes be low on the priority list. Consistently eating fresh, nutritious food doesn’t have to break the bank—but it does require some planning. Creating a grocery list can help you plan out your week, keep you accountable and discourage impulsive buys.
Check out some of these ways to maximize your nutrition without maxing out your credit card.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are a great staple grocery because of the many important nutrients they provide. It’s recommended to at 2-3 sources daily. Dairy supplies our bodies with protein, vitamin D and calcium, which are important for building muscle and keeping your bones healthy.
2. Canned fish
Eating fatty fish can be an easy way to get both protein and omega-3 fats, which are important for brain and heart health. Fish filets can be pricy, but canned fish like salmon and tuna can be a great way to minimize cost while still getting all the benefits of fish. You can make a quick, easy meal out of salmon or tuna salad.
3. Meat-free proteins
Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet because of its role in building and preserving our muscle tissue. Meat is most people’s primary source of protein but can also be expensive.
Eggs, beans, peanut butter and soy-based proteins like tofu or tempeh are all healthy protein sources to use throughout the week alongside your normal meat servings.
4. Bulk whole grains
Whole grains are an important carbohydrate source because of the benefits their fiber content provides. Buying foods like oatmeal, pasta and brown rice in bulk can help you get these grains at cheaper prices. Luckily, these aren’t quick to expire, so you won’t run the risk of wasting them.
5. Choose produce that is in season
Most fruits and vegetables are usually only in season for a few months out of the year. During this window of opportunity, these foods are not only at their peak of flavor and nutrient content but are also usually at their cheapest price!
Check out the USDA’s Seasonal Produce Guide or ask your local grocery store associate for assistance with picking in-season fruits and veggies. By being flexible and incorporating these foods into your weekly menu, you can get the most bang for your buck from produce.
6. Buy frozen
With produce seasons in mind, buying frozen is a great way to continue getting your favorite fruits and vegetables at their peak any time of the year. This also allows shoppers to reduce their waste—use what you need and keep the rest in the freezer instead of spoiling in your fridge.
Making family mealtime a priority
These foods are a great start to ensuring your family’s health and wellness with food without adding financial stress. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Try new foods, look out for coupons and always remember to plan ahead.
Mealtimes are an important part of being a family—appreciate the time together, the food and conversation you share, and the ways you’re nourishing your body. For more tips, check out this list of grocery bill tips.