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Balanced Diet on a Budget

I have a hard time stretching my food dollars to last all month. How can I feed my family a balanced diet on a budget?

Here are some budget-stretching ideas for all of the food groups:

  • Grains: Look for bargains on day-old bread. It costs less but is still nutritious. Instead of instant products, buy regular rice and oatmeal to save money, too.
  • Vegetables: Consider growing some of your own veggies in a traditional garden or container garden. Buy fresh veggies in season when they are usually at their lowest price and best quality. Buy large bags of frozen vegetables, use what you need and seal the bag tightly between uses.
  • Fruits: Buy fresh fruits in season. Compare the prices of frozen and canned (in juice) fruits.
  • Low-fat dairy products: Compare prices. Consider using reconstituted nonfat dry milk in recipes to stretch your milk budget.
  • Protein foods: Look for specials, buy on sale and freeze in meal-size portions. Consider lower-cost cuts such as chuck or bottom round for stew or soup. Stretch your food dollar by using more protein- and fiber-rich dry edible beans, lentils and dried peas.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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