8 Creative Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Meals on a Tight Budget

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Playing Melissa D'Arabian's Tips for How to Shop for Best Prices
Melissa D'Arabian's Tips for How to Shop for Best Prices Aired July 24, 2015

by Lisa Lozano

Grace is a hard-working single mom of three who has a full-time job and is also going to school full time for her Master’s in Mental Health. She relies upon Food Stamps to feed her kids, but it’s challenging to buy healthy foods on her limited budget. Fellow mom Melissa D’Arabian is sharing insight on how to make the most of store sales to make nutritious and delicious meals.

Tip 1: Plan Your Shopping List According to the Circular

Before you decide what to buy and cook for the week, take a look at your local grocery store’s circular. Look for the healthy items that are the most deeply discounted.

Tip 2: Shop According to the “Per Unit” Price

Loose potatoes may be 99 cents a pound, but if a 5 lb bag is $1.79, you will save money. Always do the math to find out what the lowest per-unit price is, and go with that option.

Related: 3 Creative Tips for Doing More with Less

Tip 3: Purchase “Buy One Get One Free Vegetables”

Melissa advocates using ALL of certain veggies, including portions you might be inclined to toss. For example, if you buy beets with the stems and greens attached, you can wash and cook up the greens for a second meal. Likewise, the stems of broccoli are often discarded, but can actually be used for slaws or soups.

Tip 4: Always Buy the Meat Listed on the Front of the Flyer

Meat items on the front page of the flyer are “loss leaders” according to Melissa, meaning that the grocery store sells them at a loss in order to get you to come shop.

Tip 5: Comparison Shop Between Stores

Keep an eye on prices of items your family eats regularly at stores around town. The lowest price for a can of tuna might be $1 at one store, but if you can get it for 50 cents at another store, you should plan to buy it there.

Tip 6: Be Flexible with Your Cooking Techniques

Depending on what meat is on sale, you should change up your menu to accommodate the preparation that is best for that cut. For example, Grace purchased a shoulder London Broil, which is a tougher cut of meat, so braising would be the best way to prepare.

Related: How to Feed a Family of 4 for $5

Tip 7: Get the Most Flavor Out of Your Meals

As Rachael says, color equals flavor. So you can make even an inexpensive cut of meat taste amazing by getting a beautiful brown crust on it.

Tip 8: Keep Inexpensive ‘Aromatics’ on Hand

Ingredients that add a lot of flavor like onions, garlic, tomato paste, carrots, herbs, etc. are an inexpensive way to make any meal taste like a million bucks.

What surprised you most about Melissa’s tips? Tell us in the comments.

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