By Guest Blogger, Sasha Bard, MS, RD, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of AgricultureWith kids back at school and the holiday season fast approaching, we could all use to save a little money. If you’re looking for ways to be thriftier, make sure you don’t cut back on healthy eating.
MyPlate, the food guidance system from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), offers great tips for healthy eating on a budget. ChooseMyPlate.gov has information and ideas on healthy eating such as how to add more vegetables to your day, make at least half your grains whole, choose a variety of protein foods and cut back on salt and sodium.
Smart shoppers know that saving money is more than luck. When shopping for groceries, it’s about having a game plan and making smart decisions about what to put in your cart. Try planning out your meals ahead of time and making a grocery list. That way you avoid impulse buys. Shopping on a full stomach can also help!
For fruits and vegetables, MyPlate suggests buying fresh produce in season, comparing prices of frozen and canned items, which may be less expensive, and shopping store sales.
When comparing prices, pay attention to unit pricing if you want to maximize savings. Choosing the larger container may be a better deal.
Coupons are another great way to cut food costs. Knowing how to find them is the first step. Check newspapers, websites, store shelves and food packages.
When eating out, save money by getting the early bird special, going out for lunch instead of dinner, or looking for “2 for 1” deals. Savvy diners also stick to water instead of ordering other beverages. This trick will help you save money and calories.
For more ideas, visit the Healthy Eating on a Budget section on ChooseMyPlate.gov where you will find tasty and low-cost recipes, sample two-week menus and tips for every aisle.