Sometimes once all the bills are paid, there just isn't as much money left over for things like food or gas as you had anticipated, especially if you've had a recent change in income, such as losing a job, taking a pay cut, or paying for unexpected expenses (e.g., medical bills, car repairs). However, it is possible to feed your family well on a budget by choosing healthy, low-cost staples when grocery shopping.
Pastas are inexpensive and family-friendly since even most picky eaters will enjoy a plate of spaghetti or macaroni or egg noodles. To avoid having the same things over and over, try dressing them up with different sauces or easy garnishes like a little bit of butter and parmesan cheese or olive oil and chopped tomatoes.
Grains and Beans
Oatmeal is a good solid choice for breakfast that won't break the bank, as is rice. Rice can also be a side dish for lunches or dinners and pairs nicely with poultry and fish. Dried beans or peas are very inexpensive and can be cooked as side dishes, as soups, or even as a main course baked with a small amount of ham. Instead of buying microwave bags of popcorn, buy a regular bag (which can also be microwaved in a brown paper lunch bag) and make healthy, filling snacks.
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Peanut butter is an excellent low-cost alternative to lunch meats for sandwiches. Tuna packed in water is another cheap yet healthy alternative. Fish in general is less expensive than beef or pork, and turkey and chicken can be economical choices as well if you purchase them in bulk sizes or as whole birds. (Note: If you purchase a non-frozen whole chicken, your grocery store butcher will usually cut it up for you at no charge if you do not know the proper way to cut a chicken.) Eggs can be utilized for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and usually are less expensive bought in larger quantities.
Fruits and Vegetables
Although fresh fruits and vegetables may be slightly more expensive, your family can still eat healthy on a budget by incorporating frozen varieties or fruits and vegetables canned in water instead. Additionally, potatoes are relatively inexpensive fresh, rather than frozen, and will keep for a long while, so consider buying large bags and making your own fries, hash browns, and scalloped potatoes and adding them to soups or other vegetables as side dishes.