Economical, Healthy Meals
Many people are concerned about the
economy and want to get the most value for
every dollar spent. Food is one item that we
buy frequently and even though each item
does not cost much, it does add up to a lot
of money in a year. Most people are not
only concerned about how much money
they spend on food, but are also concerned
about getting healthy, nutritious food that is
easy and quick to prepare.
Some people have the mistaken idea that
the more money they spend, the healthier
the food will be. This is not necessarily so.
Many healthy foods are good bargains. The
Food Guide Pyramid recommends getting
several servings of whole grains, fruits and
vegetables each day. These foods are
usually some of the least expensive foods.
Even in the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans,
Nuts and Eggs groups some of the least
expensive foods are very good choices from
a health stand point. For example dry beans
are a very good source of protein, low in fat
and low cost.
Another place we can save money on food
is do some preparation ourselves. A whole
chicken cost much less than skinless,
boneless chicken breast.
Another place to save is reducing snack
foods. Potato chips are very expensive and
are high in fat and very low in vitamins and
Tips for Value Shopping
Everyone would like to save money at the
grocery store. Here are some tips to get you
- Divide grocery money into equal weekly
amounts. Try not to "borrow from
next week's allowance. This way
money should last all month.
- Watch for store newspaper ads and
coupons. Take advantage of coupons and
sale items, but be sure your family will
use a "bargain." If they won't, it's no
- Plan ahead. Plan ahead for the main
foods you will cook for the next several
days. Are there items on sale this week
that you can use? Check how much
storage space you have for groceries.
- Do most of your shopping only once a
week. You will save
time and not spend
as much money on"
extras" you see as
- Make a list and stick to it. Don't be
tempted to buy things you haven't
- Shop by yourself. If possible, don't take
children with you.
- Go when you aren't hungry. Shop on a
full stomach or else everything will look inviting.
- Compare brands. Look at the cost and
the quantity. Usually the stores own
brand is cheaper, but not always.
- Compare different stores. Look at prices
in several stores if you have a choice. If
you find one store is generally less
expensive, stick with it.
- Compare forms of food. Buy a lower-cost
form of the product if it will do as well.
For instance, use canned tomato pieces
rather than whole tomatoes.
- Buy"Day-old bread," if it is to be eaten
- Take time to compare frozen, fresh and
Try following these tips every time you
shop for groceries. With their help, you can
Prepared by Barbara Farner, Extension Educator,
Nutrition and Wellness, University of Illinois Extension, Matteson Extension
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