· K.I.S.S. Healthy and creative meals don’t have to be complicated. The simpler the menu, the less money and stress it will cost you in the end.
· Plan meals and snacks for the week according to your pre-established budget.
· Check for sales and coupons in the local paper or online and consider discount stores.
· Find quick and easy recipes online (do a Google or Pinterest search for "recipes on a budget").
· Include meals that will “stretch” costly meat; add extra vegetables, beans, and whole grains to create delicious, hearty, and filling meals (stews, casseroles, stir‐fried dishes go farther).
· ALWAYS make a grocery list; organize by where things are in your store.
· Create a Master List upon which to build your weekly list. This includes items you buy every week.
· Ask about a loyalty or rewards or discount card at your grocery store.
· Buy groceries when you are not hungry and when you are not too rushed.
· Stick to the grocery list and stay out of the aisles that don’t contain items on your list.
· NEVER go to the store for just 1 item; you will either go over budget and/or buy additional things you don't really need!
· Buy store brands if cheaper.
· Find and compare unit prices listed on shelves to get the best price.
· Purchase some items in bulk or as family packs which usually cost less (stock pantry & freezer).
· Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season; check the "reduced for sale" or "clearance" produce section for very edible produce and support your local Farmer's Market!
· Frozen dinners, pre‐cut fruits and vegetables, individual cups of yogurt and instant rice and hot cereal are convenient, but usually cost more than those that require a bit more prep time AND they are not as healthy!
· Good low‐cost items available all year include:
¨ Protein — beans (garbanzo, black, pinto, cannellini or Great Northern)
¨ Vegetables — carrots, greens, potatoes
¨ Fruit — apples, bananas
· Some meal items can be prepared in advance; pre‐cook on Sundays or when you have time.
· Double or triple up on recipes and freeze meal‐sized containers of soups, beans and casseroles or divide into individual portions...this may keep you from drive-thru or eating out when busy.
· Prepare enough to have "left-over's" for lunch the next day to save time, prep and cost.
· Try a few meatless meals by substituting with beans and peas/lentils or try “no‐cook” meals like salads (salad-in-a-jar). Other great sources of less expensive, high quality protein are nuts and seeds and eggs.
· Use Crockpot or Instapot for the working woman; just put in pot, turn on and leave (great for bean recipes).
· Be creative with a fruit or vegetable and use it in different ways during the week.
· Try this "no spend challenge:" when the budget is running really low, challenge yourself to prepare and eat only things you already have on hand in your fridge, freezer or pantry. Get creative!
· Drive-thru and Boxed are Budget Busters; avoid them!! Make from "scratch" for health and cost savings.
· IF you eat out: go out for lunch, look for 2-for-1 or early bird specials, drink only water.
Helpful Resource: www.choosemyplate.gov/budget
Your Nutrition Coach, Dr. Carol with Transformational Coaching with Dr. Carol