Publications

Accessibility


Now Serving: Tasty, Healthful Meals on a Budget Week 3: Cost-saving Tips, Menus and Recipes (FN1385)

You may have established a weekly menu and shopping list, but now you need the food. Going to the grocery store to buy food for your family may be something you do not look forward to doing. Decreasing the amount of time and money you spend there may help change that. This is the third in a series of publications to help you eat well but spend less at the grocery store.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Grete Peterson, Former Program Assistant; Tera Sandvik, R.D., Former Project Assistant


Shop$mart! Which of these cost-saving ideas do you use?

  • I avoid grocery shopping when I am tired. (When you are tired, you may be more likely to purchase convenience items and make poor food choices.)
  • I shop alone* and/or go only once a week.
  • I have a snack before going grocery shopping to prevent impulse buys.
  • I compare the unit prices for the same product from different brands to determine the best size and brand for the money. (Unit prices are the small labels on the front edge of the shelves in the grocery store.)
  • I avoid buying nonfood items at the grocery store. Unless they’re on sale, the prices of soaps, shampoos and paper products can be inflated.
  • I stay alert for checkout counter mistakes. Look carefully at your receipt to make sure you get the sale price on sale items. Check your change, too!

*If you are not able to shop alone, have your family members help you. Assign them different tasks, such as price checking or getting hard-to-reach items on the bottom shelves. This may distract them from checking out the tempting candy, cookie and toy aisles, and they can learn to become smart shoppers, too.

Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Menu

Fruits and vegetables add color to your plate and nutrition to your menus. Unfortunately, many children and adults fall short of the amount recommended for them.

Fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are naturally low in calories. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help with weight management and can help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Affording More Fruits and Vegetables

• Compare prices. Consider all the forms of fruits and vegetables that are available: canned, fresh, frozen and dried. Buy the forms that best fit your storage options, lifestyle and budget.

• Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season when they are at their highest quality and best price.

• Choose fruits without added sugar or syrup and vegetables without added salt, butter or cream sauces. Compare Nutrition Facts labels for sodium and fat content.

• Use fresh produce first so it does not spoil. Then use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables until the next shopping trip.MyPlate Equivalents

What’s Your MyPlate Plan?

You can find the latest nutrition recommendations.

Each person has different needs based on gender, age and level of physical activity. Learn what each of your family members needs at his or her particular calorie levels by visiting the website or contacting your local Extension agent for “MyPlate Plans” handouts for different age groups. The MyPlate Plans are available online.

 

Size up your portions with these visual clues.

Portion Comparisons

Example: MyPlate Plan and three-day menu plan for an 8-year-old female who gets 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day*

MyPlate Plan*

Grains ......................5 ounces
Vegetables ...............2 cups
Fruit .........................1.5 cups
Dairy ........................3 cups
Protein Foods ..........5 ounces

Three-day Menu Plan for an 8-year-old Female*

 3 Day Planner

 Store Food Safely

To prevent wasting food, protect the food you buy. Use care, cleanliness and common sense when storing food.

• Always read the label to see where the food item should be stored. For example, labels on items that must be kept cold will say “keep refrigerated” or “refrigerate after opening.”

• Put food items that spoil easily in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you return from the store. Check to make sure your refrigerator keeps food below 40 F.

• Label food products with the date of purchase and arrange them in a “first in, first out” manner.

• Do not store food in a cabinet near chemicals (such as detergents or bleach) or directly below the kitchen sink or any cabinets that gets too wet or too warm.

Weekly Meal Planner

Recipes

Key to Abbreviations

tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
c. = cup
oz. = ounce
pkg. = package
g = grams
mg = milligrams
lb. = pound

Bean and Sausage Stew

Equipment you will need
• measuring cup
• sharp knife
• measuring spoon
• large pan
• cutting board
• mixing spoon
• can opener

Ingredients
½ lb. Polish or German sausage
1 large onion, sliced
1 c. sliced celery
2 c. sliced, peeled carrots
1 (15 to 16 oz.) can Great Northern beans with liquid
1 (15 to 16 oz.) can red beans with liquid
2 c. water

Slice sausage into ¼-inch-thick rounds and fry until brown. Add onion to sausage and brown. Drain fat. In a large pan, combine sausage and onions with rest of ingredients. Cover and simmer 45 to 60 minutes.

Serves six to eight. Per serving: 193 calories, 28 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat, 9 g fiber and 637 mg sodium

Peanut Butter Freezer Bars

Equipment you will need
• measuring cups
• mixing spoon
• mixing bowl
• covered plastic or glass dish

Ingredients
1½ c. milk
½ c. peanut butter
1 pkg. (4-serving size) instant chocolate pudding
12 graham crackers

Mix milk and peanut butter together in a mixing bowl. Add pudding to peanut butter/milk mixture. Stir mixture until smooth. Spread a thick layer of pudding on a graham cracker. Top with another graham cracker. Put crackers into a covered dish. Place dish in freezer.

Serves six. Per serving: 330 calories, 44 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 3 g fiber and 530 mg sodium

Stir-fry Chicken and Vegetables

Equipment you will need
• measuring cup
• measuring spoon
• cutting board
• can opener
• sharp knife
• frying pan
• mixing spoon

 Ingredients
1 chicken breast, boned, skinned and cut in thin strips
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. thinly sliced celery
2 c. shredded cabbage
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Stir-fry chicken quickly until lightly brown. Add vegetables, broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for five minutes over low heat or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Blend cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water. Add to chicken mixture. Cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir the mixture constantly while it is cooking. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves four. Per serving: 180 calories, 11 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 2 g fiber and 890 mg sodium

Turkey Temptation

Equipment you will need
• measuring cup
• measuring spoon
• bowl
• mixing spoon
• frying pan
• baking dish

Ingredients
1 lb. ground turkey
1/3 c. large bread crumbs
1 egg
1 Tbsp. oil
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together turkey, bread crumbs and egg in a bowl. Shape mixture into meatballs. Make about 30 balls. Heat oil in a frying pan. Lightly brown meatballs in the heated oil. Put the meatballs in a baking dish. Drain leftover fat from the frying pan. Add soup and milk to frying pan. Heat and stir until smooth. Pour sauce over turkey meatballs in baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or cook over low heat on stovetop.

Serves six. Per serving: 170 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 1 g fiber and 270 mg sodium

Note: If dish is microwave safe, microwave covered dish for 10 to 12 minutes at 50 percent power, turning one or two times. Let stand five minutes before serving.

White Chili

Equipment you will need
• large pot
• can opener
• measuring cup
• mixing spoon
• knife
• cutting board

Ingredients
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
2 (16 oz.) cans Great Northern beans
3 tsp. ground cumin
3 c. cooked chicken or turkey, diced
2 (14 oz.) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese or other cheese of choice
Cheese, chips, sour cream and salsa (optional)

Combine 3 cups of broth, onion, chilies, beans and cumin. Simmer for an hour. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups cheese and chicken. Cook until chili is thick and add additional broth as needed. Top with shredded cheese, nacho chips, sour cream and salsa if desired.

Serves 12. Per serving: 350 calories, 42 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 14 g fiber and 283 mg sodium

Spinach Lasagna

Equipment you will need
• frying pan
• measuring cups
• measuring spoons
• mixing spoon
• can opener
• baking dish
• foil

Ingredients
½ lb. ground beef
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. tomato sauce
2½ c. canned tomatoes
¼ tsp. pepper
½ lb. lasagna noodles
¼ lb. sliced mozzarella cheese
¾ lb. low-fat cottage cheese
½ c. parmesan cheese
1 (10 oz.) package spinach, thawed and drained water

Set oven at 350 degrees. Brown beef in a frying pan. Drain fat. Add garlic powder to browned beef and mix well. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and pepper to frying pan. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Mixture should boil gently. Layer half of the uncooked noodles, mozzarella, cottage cheese, tomato/meat sauce, spinach and grated parmesan cheese in baking dish. Repeat with other half. Start with a layer of noodles. Cover top of lasagna with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Measure 2 cups water and add to lasagna. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes.

Serves eight.* Per serving: 260 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 2 g fiber and 750 mg sodium

*Quick Tip: You can freeze the leftovers in single-serving containers for a quick lunch.

Turkey (or Chicken) Vegetable Soup

Equipment you will need
• large covered pan
• stirring spoon
• sharp knife
• cutting board
• can opener

Ingredients
2 c. cooked turkey or chicken
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
4 c. water
1 (10 oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables*
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients in a large pan. Cover, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are done (15 to 20 minutes). Serve with crackers.
*You can substitute leftover vegetables of choice.

Serves six. Per serving: 180 calories, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 3g fiber and 580 mg sodium

Peanut Butter Dip

Equipment you will need
• measuring spoons
• measuring cup
• small mixing bowl
• mixing spoon

Ingredients
½ c. vanilla yogurt
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. orange juice

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Use as a dip for fruit.

Serves four. Per serving: 80 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat, 1 g fiber and 60 mg sodium

Quick Tip: Make half your grains choices whole grains. Enjoy sandwiches made with whole-grain bread, such as whole wheat, more often.

Tuna Salad Sandwich 

Equipment you will need
• cutting board
• can opener
• small sharp knife
• small bowl
• measuring cup
• mixing spoon

Ingredients
1 (7 oz.) can tuna
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ c. mayonnaise*
8 slices bread

Open tuna can and drain tuna. Put tuna in small bowl. Wash and chop celery on cutting board. Measure ¼ cup mayonnaise. Add celery and mayonnaise to tuna in bowl. Mix well. Place four slices of bread on cutting board. Put one-fourth of tuna mix on each slice. Spread tuna over bread and put another slice of bread on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Serves four. Per serving: 210 calories, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 4 g fiber and 520 mg sodium

*To cut calories and fat, use nonfat or low-fat mayonnaise, or use half nonfat yogurt.

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Equipment you will need
• fork
• sharp knife
• cutting board
• measuring spoons
• bowl

Ingredients
2 cucumbers
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

Wash cucumbers. Score cucumbers with the tines of a fork. Thinly slice. Put sliced cucumbers into a bowl and add salt. Let stand in fridge for 20 minutes. Drain off water. Add vinegar and sugar to cucumbers. Chill before serving.

Serves four. Per serving: 30 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 1 g fiber and 580 mg sodium

Waldorf Salad

Equipment you will need
• sharp knife
• cutting board
• 2 mixing bowls
• measuring cups
• measuring spoons
• mixing spoons

Ingredients
1 c. celery, diced
2 apples, diced
½ c. walnuts, chopped (if you like)
½ c. low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. sugar (if you like)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix celery, apples and walnuts in a mixing bowl. In the other mixing bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice and sugar. Add to the celery and apple mixture and mix well. Chill before serving.

Serves six. Per serving: 110 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 2 g fiber and 30 mg sodium

Egg Salad Sandwich

Equipment you will need
• small pan
• measuring cup
• small bowl
• mixing spoon
• small sharp knife
• cutting board

Ingredients
4 hard-cooked eggs
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ c. mayonnaise*
8 slices bread

Put eggs in pan. Cover with cold water. Put pan on the stove and heat until the water starts to boil. Take pan of eggs off the stove, cover the pan and let it stand for 15 minutes. Wash and chop the celery and put in small bowl. When eggs have stood for 15 minutes, pour cold water over them. Take out of water and peel the eggs. Cut eggs on cutting board and put in bowl. Measure and add mayonnaise and mix well. Place four slices of bread on cutting board. Put one-fourth of egg mix on each slice. Spread egg mix over bread and put another slice on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Serves four. Per serving: 210 calories, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 4 g fiber and 520 mg sodium

Crispy Baked Chicken 

Equipment you will need
• measuring cup
• measuring spoon
• rolling pin or glass
• tongs or forks
• bowl
• baking pan
• plastic bag

Ingredients
1 c. cornflakes, crushed
1 c. skim milk
1 frying chicken (2½ to 3 lb.) cut into serving pieces, skin removed
1 tsp. oil (for oiling pan)

Set oven at 400 degrees. Measure cornflakes into a plastic bag. Close. Crush cornflakes with rolling pin or glass. Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Pour the skim milk into a bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in milk and then shake in bag of cornflake crumbs. Let stand briefly until coating sticks. Oil pan. Place coated chicken pieces in oiled pan. Pieces should not touch each other. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serves four. Per serving: 230 calories, 10 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber and 150 mg sodium

Coleslaw

Equipment you will need
• cutting board
• sharp knife
• mixing bowl
• mixing spoon
• grater

Ingredients
½ head cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar

Chop cabbage and grate carrot. In bowl, mix other ingredients. Add cabbage and carrot and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

Serves eight. Per serving: 30 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 2 g fiber and 135 mg sodium

Cornbread

Equipment you will need
• 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan
• mixing bowl
• measuring cups
• measuring spoons
• mixing spoon

Ingredients
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ c. sugar
2 eggs
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 c. milk

Butter baking pan and set aside. Set oven at 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour cornbread batter into baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

Serves six. Per serving: 330 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 4 g fiber and 470 mg sodium

Grocery List

MyPlate

This material was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with a low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your county social services office.

Visit the NDSU Extension Service website at for parent/caregiver information, recipes and educational activities for children.

Reviewed August 2016

Filed under: , ,
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.