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Cooking on a Budget

Eat-on-budgetAfter all of the cooking, baking, buying presents, and traveling during the holiday season, money can get tight. When this happens it can be hard to eat healthy. Heather Rudnik, a Registered Dietitian at Lakeland Health, shares some helpful advice for cooking on a budget. When following the steps to prepare your meals for the week, make sure to remember the three P’s:

Plan your menu before you go to the store:

  •  Check local sales for deals on foods that you normally purchase
  • Collect coupons for foods that you normally purchase – Bonus points if you can find coupons that line up with sales
  • Check what you have in the pantry, freezer, and fridge before you go shopping
  • Look for recipes that include foods you already have and foods that are on sale
  • Choose multiple recipes that use some of the same ingredients in order to reduce food waste
  • Create a shopping list based on the recipes that you choose and stick to your list when shopping
  • Plan to eat a snack before you go grocery shopping. This can help prevent impulse purchases

Purchase your groceries:

  • Buy the most “whole” version of a food. For example, purchase a whole cabbage rather than a slaw mix. By chopping up the cabbage for you, the producers mark up the price by about $1.00 per pound
  • Check unit prices
  • The generic brand may be cheaper than the name brand foods that are on sale – make sure to check

Prepare your meals:

  • Cook double batches of foods that are easily frozen like beans and casseroles – that way, you have low-cost “convenience foods” when you don’t have time to cook
  • Make recipes that require fresh produce or foods that are easily perishable early in the week to reduce food waste
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