Plan your meals out for the week. Planning can help you save money by ensuring that you only purchase what you need for the week and reducing food waste from spoiled or uneaten foods. Need ideas? Visit our blog post for tips on meal prepping.
Stock up on fruits and vegetables. In-season fruits and vegetables taste better and tend to be less expensive, so get to know what is in season in your area. Frozen fruits and vegetables (without added sauces or sweeteners) are just as nutritious as fresh; as an added bonus, they’re pre-cut and washed. Canned vegetables can be another low cost option; look for low or no added sodium and rinse prior to using. For canned fruits, choose those canned in their own juice.
Go for whole grains. Brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, quinoa, and popcorn are all examples of whole grain foods that are higher in fiber and nutrients than refined grains. Breads, along with bagels, English muffins, and tortillas, can be frozen for later use; if you can’t use them before they go moldy, try bagging up half and stashing them in the freezer. Cooked rice also freezes well. Quick cooking whole grains, like quick rolled oats or boil in bag brown rice, are as nutritious as longer cooking options.
Choose inexpensive protein sources. Proteins are usually thought to be the most expensive part of a meal, but there are lots of low cost options. Some of the least expensive protein choices are eggs, beans, lentils, peas, tuna (in cans or packets), and peanut butter.
Make extra servings of some foods at the beginning of the week. Leftovers should be eaten within 3-4 days, so no need to prepare for the whole week. Baked chicken, roasted vegetables, cut fruit, a big batch of beans, or rice can be prepared and used in meals later in the week.
Try using a meal planning or grocery app, like Mealime, or print out a grocery list to keep you on task at the store.
Visit the UHC Nutrition Kitchen recipe archives for plenty of recipe ideas.