Building Budget-Friendly Meals

by Samantha Schmell

Healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank; in fact, making nutritious choices for family meals can actually save money. Below are some strategies for creating tasty and budget-friendly meals for all to enjoy.

Have a game plan before you shop.

First, check the supermarket’s weekly ad and plan meals for the week, keeping in mind what items will be on sale. Then take inventory of what is already on hand in the fridge and pantry so there are no unnecessary purchases. Now create a detailed list of what is needed from the supermarket. Shopping with a list is key to staying on budget.

Try frozen and canned produce.

Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, last longer and are usually much less expensive. When possible, choose options without added sugars, salts or sauces. Using canned and frozen produce can also help cut down on food waste, which helps reduce the amount spent on groceries over time.

Choose proteins wisely.

Proteins are an important part of any budget. Budget-friendly proteins include beans, eggs and canned fish such as tuna. Canned beans are an easy, inexpensive way to add protein to the meal. Rinse and drain them to cut down on sodium, or buy low-sodium varieties. Also stock up on meats when they are on sale, or buy family packs that are lower in price, then freeze immediately or cook and freeze.

Repurpose leftovers.

Reheat last night’s dinner for a quick and delicious lunch. Or look for ways to repurpose leftovers if eating the same meal twice is not preferred. For example, combine extra chicken and rice with some frozen veggies and broth to make a hearty soup. Or use leftover spaghetti sauce and meatballs to make meatball subs. An end of the week “leftover night” can also be a great way to clean out the fridge while saving time and money.

For more recipes and ideas for making simple meals on a budget, visit the office of a local ShopRite dietitian. Office locations are conveniently listed at ShopRite.com. May 2019

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