Your Family Can Eat Healthy Foods on a Budget

10 ways to save at the store and 5 tips for cooking at home


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Food is getting harder and harder to afford for many families. Blame the weird weather or the cost of transporting food around the globe. And, get smarter about how you spend your food dollars. Excellent nutrition is possible on a tight budget, and here’s how.

10 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store and Get Excellent Nutrition, Too

  1. Set your grocery budget and stick to it.
  2. Plan your meals with the help of weekly, on-sale items.
  3. Write a grocery list and use it.
  4. Slow down and choose your groceries carefully.
  5. Include all food groups.
  6. Buy more plant-based foods and less meat.
  7. Buy fewer soft drinks. Drink more tap water.
  8. Buy store brands whenever they are available.
  9. Learn to read labels for good nutrition and freshness.
  10. Teach your kids to be smart shoppers, like you.

5 Ways to Save Money and Boost Nutrition by Cooking and Eating at Home

  1. Economize at the breakfast table by serving oatmeal or oat cereal, banana and milk. Add a protein blast with a hard or soft boiled egg.
  2. Bag-your-own single servings of nuts and dried fruits trail mix for backpack snacks.
  3. Make a peanut butter and sliced apple (or blueberry) sandwich for your kids’ lunch box. For peanut allergic kids, use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.
  4. Cook in a batch over the weekend with favorites like chili, homemade mac and cheese, and chicken with rice. Then, freeze half of it for dinner next week.
  5. Make your own homemade tortilla chips and popcorn instead of buying them in a snack bag.

Recipe Resource

Healthy Carrot Salad

Tangy Carrot Salad

Here’s a twist on plain old carrots with a whole lot of flavor and zing.

Kids can help by measuring the ingredients, squeezing the lime and stirring everything up, with supervision.

Makes 6 servings

4 large Carrots
½ medium Lime, juice only
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Spicy mustard
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper

  1. Peel carrots and remove both ends.
  2. Rinse carrots in cool tap water and pat dry.
  3. Grate carrots with a hand grater or food processor.
  4. Place carrots into a medium sized bowl.
  5. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, make a dressing by mixing up the lime juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper with a whisk.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the carrots and stir up to mix well.

Nutrition per serving: 60 calories; 4.5 gm fat; 0.5 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat;  0 mg cholesterol; 110 mg sodium; 5 gm carbohydrates; 1 gm fiber; <1 gm protein

Money Saving Tip: Buy a 2-pound bag of large carrots, or buy them individually from a bulk bin, whichever is a better price.

Time Saving Tip: Mix up the dressing for this recipe the night before. Store covered in the fridge.

Cooking Tip: Serve this recipe topped with fresh, chopped parsley for beautiful color and extra flavor.

Cindy Silver, one of our Fit Family Challenge experts, is a registered dietitian in Winston Salem who believes that simple food and home cooking are at the core of a healthy life. Her nutrition education business guides clients in a flavorful and fun, step-by-step journey to healthier eating. Cindy teaches hands-on, everyday skills and strategies in tasty menu planning, smart grocery shopping and nutritious home cooking, which may sound simple but, in reality, are not. With practice, Cindy believes that everyone can improve their personal and family nutrition, one step at a time. Visit her website at marketbasketnutrition.com.

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