How to get nutritious foods on a budget, from a nutritionist RD

However gas price is the lowest now compared to them in months, inflation continues to push up the price of groceries higher than 43 yearsmakes it a little harder for many Americans to get the food they need.

The Home Food Index has increased by 13.5% since last year, according to The most recent data from the Consumer Price Index.

Here’s a snapshot of how much the prices of some essential food items have increased over the past 12 months:

  • cereals and cereal products (17.4%)
  • milk and related products (16.2%)
  • vegetables (9.4%).

Buying groceries, especially those rich in nutrients, is harder than it has been since 1979, but there are still ways to get the healthy foods you need if you’re on a tighter budget.

Often, when shopping for savings, the common advice is to use coupons, says Felicia Porrazza, a registered dietitian in Pennsylvania.

While coupons can be helpful, sometimes using them can encourage people to buy things they don’t need or won’t use, she says.

“I generally recommend using coupons for things you usually buy, not for things you like ‘Oh, I have a coupon for that,’” says Porrazza. This can also add to the grocery bill.

And while methods like seasonal shopping and buying local groceries work, they’re not the only ways to save money.

3 ways to get nutrient-rich food on a budget

1. Prepare meals

Porrazza says shop with purpose by thinking of the meals you plan to cook throughout the week before you walk into the grocery store.

“It can get sticky when people buy fresh produce and they don’t have a plan for it, so it sits in the fridge and will eventually die sadly without being used,” Porrazza notes. “It’s money that’s basically being wasted.”

When planning your meals, you should also look in your pantry to see what foods you already have that will last a long time and take an inventory of everything in the fridge and freezer, she says. speak.

2. Buy frozen and canned foods

Consider buying frozen or canned foods in place of some of the fresh foods you normally buy, says Porrazza. These foods tend to be cheaper and last longer than fresh foods, she says.

“There’s a lot of variety out there, from chickpeas to chickpeas, and those are nutrient-dense foods,” says Porrazza. “The only thing to watch out for in canned items is the sodium aspect.”

For vegetables, look for She says “no salt” or low-sodium options while you’re shopping. You can also drain and rinse canned vegetables to reduce the sodium content.

For canned fruit, the main concern is the sugar content. You should aim for options with no added sugar or those that are canned with 100% juice or water, Porrazza notes.

3. Try Protein Alternatives

Meat and fish are more expensive than most foods these days, and even if you don’t follow a plant-based diet, using different sources of protein as a base for one or two meals a week can lowers the price of your groceries, says Porrazza.

Some of the alternatives she suggests are:

  • Tofu
  • Recipes based on beans like chili
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Temples

“Just change that protein source,” says Porrazza. You still get a source of protein, but without necessarily increasing the cost.

Tips for creating your grocery list

You may need to narrow down your shopping list to save money. In those cases, these top 10 food items should always be on your grocery list, according to Porrazza:

  • Protein (two dishes)
  • Grains/Carbohydrates (two items)
  • Fruit (two dishes)
  • Vegetables (one starchy, one non-starchy)
  • Add-ins (two items)

You can put together your own grocery list, personalized with nutritional value, using the images below:

Nutrient-rich foods to prioritize, even if you’re on a budget

Try to get two different items from each category. For vegetables, choose one with starch and one without.

The protein

• Textured vegetable protein (soy meat)

• Tofu

• Lean

Fish (high in Omega-3 like salmon or rainbow trout)

Chicken (No skin)

Sheep (grilled or pork leg)

Pork sirloin *

Low-fat beef * (98% lean or loin)

Grains + carbs

• Quinoa

• Pasta

• Rice


• Apple

• Banana

• Blueberry

• Oranges

• Strawberry

• Tomato



• Corn

• Legumes (beans)

• Potatoes

• Yam

No starch

• Broccoli

• Carrot

• Cauliflower

• Celery

• Cucumber

• Kale

• Lettuce

• Spinach

• Zuchini


• Peanut butter

• Linseed

• Oat

• Other interesting additions

How to manage your money when inflation is high

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