Meal Planning: Basic Steps
Inventory your fridge and pantry. Don’t let food you have go to waste!
Make a list of meals and snacks you want to make for the week(s). Plan out the week(s) so you know what you will eat and when you will eat it.
TIP: Picture meals that include all food groups - with lots of vegetables & fruits! Think MyPlate.
Make a list of the amounts of each ingredient you will need to purchase. Try this grocery list template!
Search for coupons or sales for items.
Shop! Remember to stick to your list to prevent food and money waste.
TIP: Never go grocery shopping while hungry! We not only buy MORE food than we need, but we also buy unhealthy foods and non-food items!
TIP: Bring your own reusable shopping bags. Also bring a cooler if you will spend time traveling to multiple stores.
As soon as you get home, do some meal preparation: wash and chop vegetables, freeze proteins you won’t use within a few days, etc.
TIP: Get the whole family involved! Children are more likely to try new foods if they are involved.
Stick to your plan so that food waste is minimized. Re-purpose leftovers as needed in other dishes.
Grocery Budget Calculator:
See an estimated amount it would cost per day and month to meet the USDA Dietary Guidelines based on current food prices and your habits.
Helpful Budgeting & Coupon Apps:
You Need a Budget
Helpful Food & Health Apps:
MyNetDiary Calorie Counter
10 Nutritious Food Items for a Limited Budget:
Whole wheat bread/tortillas
Additional “shopping on a budget tips.”
Shopping Seasonal, Local, and in Your Own Backyard
Shopping for in-season produce is generally less costly because there is a greater supply of the item, driving the cost down at the grocery store.
Shopping LOCAL is even better because it keeps dollars in your local economy and supports your neighbors!
Shopping in your own backyard is, well, free! Starting a garden is a great way to keep a supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs available. Freeze extra produce from summer harvests for the colder seasons later on. If you don’t have a lot of space to work with, container gardens are an easy way to start a few plants (example: tomatoes, herbs, strawberries)