Healthy, Low-Cost Summer Meal Planning

Grocery Carts

Like most Americans, you probably spend a big part of your budget on food and groceries. Typically, the average family’s food costs per month average about $800. For many of these families, it may be hard to stay on a healthy diet because quantity can overpower quality when it comes to being on a tight grocery budget. Children in these families may be more apt to consume foods that have higher calories and lower nutrients than other options, ultimately leading to a greater possibility of long-term health problems and obesity.

Healthy eating is absolutely worth the investment. Shopping for items that are exclusively organic may be unrealistic and may break the budget but with a little planning and creativity you can create healthier meals and provide nutritious snacks for your family. The goal of this post is to show you that you can shop healthy while still staying in your budget this summer.

1. Shop Smart
Look in your local newspaper or go online to collect coupons. Set aside an hour on a Sunday to find coupons and plan meals for the week ahead of you. Preparation is the key to eating well while still saving a good chunk of change. Oftentimes when you purchase an item in bulk, you will receive coupons for that item. Once you have collected your coupons, keep them in a safe place and keep track of expiration dates. Additionally, shopping at ethnic or specialty food stores where produce tends to be less expensive is a great way to get more (healthy foods) for your buck.

2. Start Small
Experts recommend that families should focus on adding to their diet, not taking away. For example, if someone aims towards adding whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into their diet, it will go a lot further than aiming towards taking away sweets and unhealthy foods. In addition, learning to cook regularly is a great goal (there are so many home cooks on YouTube and more food blogs than anyone could count, so take advantage of the free tutorials!). Cooking two to three homemade meals per week is not only a great family activity but also a great way to keep track of what you’re using and how much supply you really need to feed your family. Don’t forget to get the kids involved because they will take pride in the meal they have created!

3. Make a Weekly Meal Plan, And Then Reuse It
Think about what you’re eating. When you’re not constantly thinking about it, it’s more likely that the food you buy will go to waste. Make sure you’re keeping a shopping list and have meals in mind for the week ahead of you. Knowing what you need, how much you need, and how long it will last you will help you shop more economically and maintain very low food (and money) waste level.

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