Healthy Food on a Budget

By Kaitlyn Szabo November 1, 2018

 

Meal Planning

Before hitting the market be sure to have a plan, a shopping list, and a full stomach. Here are some things you can do before shopping to save time, energy, and money:

  • Spend 15-20 minutes planning a week’s worth of evening meals
    • Check what you already have and build recipes around current supplies
  • Make a price book to monitor prices of frequent purchases
    • Take note of the product name, package size, price, store, and date
  • Underline items on your list that are staples in your family diet
    • Buy those first and include other items as your budget allows

Research local recipes in cookbooks or online, including at the University of Minnesota Extension website which lists recipes using seasonal produce based on the month.

 

Farmers Markets

Shopping at a farmers market provides great benefits for you and your community. The produce is fresh from a local community farm or garden. Plus, you help support healthy communities by increasing access to fresh, nutritious food. Farmers market are kid-friendly and farmers typically accept credit, debit, or EBT card.

If you use an EBT card, there is also a program to help you save money. Market Bucks help SNAP customers stretch their dollars by matching SNAP-EBT spending, up to $10, at participating farmers markets. According to Hunger Solutions, here’s how it works:

  • Buy tokens at the EBT booth. Get Market Bucks to match dollar-for-dollar (up to $10).
  • Use tokens (and Market Bucks) to buy SNAP-eligible foods from market vendors.
  • Keep unused tokens for future visits or return them at the EBT booth

Use this map to find a farmers market that accepts Market Bucks near you!

 

Food Shopping

While actually shopping, be sure to focus on the task at hand to save money. Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Compare unit prices to find best cost value
    • Bigger does not necessarily mean cheaper.
  • Use coupons to save money on items you normally buy.
    • Don’t use coupons to justify items you don’t need or won’t use.

Looking for a way to save money on produce and meat all year? Fare for All buys food in bulk and sells food packages, ranging from $10 to $25, in thirty locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area once a month. Fare for All is open to everyone and they accept cash, credit, debit, and EBT cards.

Click here to find the Fare for All location closest to you.

 

Money Management E-Newsletter: July 2018