Tips for Preparing Meals at Home

  • Stock up on fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. Buy fresh produce that is in season to keep the cost low. Stock up on frozen vegetables and fruits when they are on sale. Frozen fruits and vegetables (without sauces or sodium added) are just as nutritious as fresh. Try low-sodium canned vegetables (or rinse canned vegetables before cooking) for another low cost option.
  • Go for whole grains. Try whole wheat pasta, quick cook brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain couscous, which can be prepared quickly. Stock up on whole grain bagels, tortillas, and bread when they are on sale and freeze them for later use.
  • Choose inexpensive protein sources – eggs (and egg whites), beans, peas, tofu, canned tuna and veggie burgers. Keep canned beans and tuna in your pantry.
  • Plan out meals for the week. Planning can help you save money, ensuring that you only purchase what you need for the week.
  • Try making extra servings of certain foods (baked chicken breasts or brown rice) at the beginning of the week to use in recipes later in the week such as chicken quesadillas, chicken salad, tofu stir fry with brown rice, or burritos.
  • Use a 7 day menu planner or a grocery shopping app – grocery IQ

For more information visit:
USDA’s Healthy Eating on a Budget
USDA’s Tips for Eating Out
USDA’s Smart Shopping for Veggies and Fruits
Plan-Shop-Cook-Eat (grocery shopping & meal planning for college students – UV of Michigan)