Late last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated ChooseMyPlate.gov to feature more resources for eating well on a budget. For many families, it's a struggle to eat healthy, nutritious food that meets basic dietary guidelines without spending too much money, and this new resource provides lots of tips and tools to help change that for families around the nation.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from ChooseMyPlate.gov
As part of the Healthy Eating on a Budget section of ChooseMyPlate.gov, the USDA has released the following resources that will help families trying to eat well without spending too much of their hard-earned cash:
- A new fact sheet, "Save More at the Grocery Store" offers 10 tips for keeping grocery bills low.
- The Healthy Eating on a Budget Cookbook offers great ideas for dishes to cook at home, including full nutritional information and cost-per-serving for each recipe.
- A sample two-week menu takes those recipes and shows how they can be built into a family's food plan.
- A grocery list template allows users to plan their shopping online, then print the list and take it with them to the store.
The focus of the recipes and the section is on fresh food prepared at home, which is going to be a healthier option than prepackaged, processed foods. It's Twinsanity uses this strategy to feed her family of eight on just $400 per month.
I grew up eating boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen fish sticks. I didn't have my first taste of salsa until I was nineteen. I had never tasted chili until I was in my twenties. My idea of vegetables was frozen corn or carrots. I didn't know any better and this was what I thought was good for me. When I had kids of my own, everything changed.
Melissa of live. love. & run... offers her tips for eating healthy while spending less, but not before she shares her opinion about why it is so important to provide people with the tools to eat better and live healthier lives:
We have a very broken food system in this country. Great guidelines, great resources, upside-down food system. Everyone knows that eating healthy, whole foods is the way to go, but what’s cheaper? A double quarter-pounder meal from McDonald’s or a meal of fruit salad, lean protein, and a fresh green salad? You guess it…the McDonald’s. It’s our reality right now…it’s cheaper to buy processed “enriched” foods or fast food! But there is a way to make it cheaper.
Hopefully these new tools from the USDA will help families who are struggling with this issue. But the USDA isn't the only resource out there for those looking to eat well on a budget. Here are some great blogs with lots of budget-friendly recipes and ideas for shopping for fresh, healthy food without splurging:
- At Poor Girl Eats Well, Kimberly A. Morales demonstrates how to shop and eat well without breaking the bank.
- Diana Johnson of Eating Richly describes herself as "freakishly frugal," and her recipes live up to her reputation without sacrificing taste and nutrition.
- Beth of Budget Bytes offers delicious recipes priced per serving.
- Though Melissa French of the More With Less Mom focuses on more than food, her monthly meal plan posts are a great resource for those looking for ideas for simple, from-scratch, frugal recipes.
- The recipes at Whole Foods on a Budget are nourishing without requiring ingredients that are too pricey.
- If you're trying to stick to a Paleo diet, check out Liz's collection of low-budget recipes at Paleo on a Budget
What are your favorite tips for eating well on a budget? Share them in the comments below.
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