For many working professionals, the very idea of needing to prepare family dinner after a long day at work can seem exhausting. Moreover, many families don’t have space in their budget to allow for quick trips to the local pizza place or a night in with takeout; they need meals to be as economical – and preferably as healthy – as possible. This might seem improbable now, but these affordable home-cooked meals can be well within reach with a little planning and practice! Here are five ideas to help you to plan healthy meals on a budget.

 

  1. Go through the refrigerator and shelves and make an inventory of the food on hand. Keep in mind that many food items are still edible past the sell-by date.

 

  1. Look for online coupons and store fliers to get the best deals on groceries.

 

  1. Shop at the most economical grocery store near to you. While it is fun to enjoy the samples, ambiance, and pretty packaging at an upscale food emporium, when shopping for healthy and economical foodstuffs seek out a discount market that is respected for their no-frills store and low-prices.

 

  1. Shopping at the farmers’ market is fun and a chance to enjoy local, fresh grown produce and other foodstuffs – though shoppers should be warned that these prices can be somewhat higher than those at your local discount market. For the best prices, shop later in the day to try to score a bargain when many booths are happy to unload their stores for a lower price.

 

  1. Stretch your food dollar by putting in a store of healthy and inexpensive staples for you and your family to enjoy. Once you have these staples in place, you can mix and match to create tasty and healthy meals. For example, combine rice, black beans, onions, peppers, and melted cheese for a healthy dish.

 

Use the basics! The same supplies can be used to make pancakes for one meal and fresh bread the next. That bread can then be used to create hearty sandwiches. With a store of dry goods in the pantry and a good oven, your options are endless!.

 

Take advantage of sales. Buying bulk red meat, fish, or poultry allows you to have a base for your main meals, as well savory additions to soups and sandwiches. Remember, always freeze meat when you can to avoid waste and excess food costs.

 

Base for Multiple Dishes

Pasta

Rice

Legumes

 

Cooking and Baking Supplies

Oil

Butter

Flour

Yeast

Oatmeal

Dried Milk

 

Produce

Onions

Garlic

Potatoes

Peppers

Carrots

Bananas

Dried Fruits

Seasonal Produce

 

Sandwich Supplies

Peanut Butter

Honey

Cheese

 

Creating healthy, satisfying, and simple meals is a great way to take control of your diet and your budget.