Update: We originally posted this in May 2014 but we employ these healthy budget tips routinely in our households – hope they help!
Disclosure: I was compensated to write this post about The Great American Milk Drive funded by the National Dairy Council and MilkPEP in partnership with Feeding America. I am a former employee of the National Dairy Council. I am donating part of this compensation to the Feeding America cause.
While I’ve been fortunate to always have a roof over my head and food on my family’s table, we’ve hit some rough patches financially over the past few years. Being in medical/pharmaceutical sales, my husband has been through a few layoffs (one lasting over 7 months) and with rising food costs, I’ve certainly employed some penny pinching when it comes to food shopping, like stocking up on the following foods:
- Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice or popcorn are more affordable when bought in bulk or large containers (store brand when available.)
- Both brown rice and oatmeal can be swapped in for more expensive grains in most recipes (oatmeal is delicious in savory dishes!)
Dried or Canned Beans
- Beans are a super cheap source of protein and are also high in fiber but low in fat.
- Beans are so versatile – they can be added to salads, pasta/whole grains dishes, soups or wraps.
- Dried beans are the cheapest with canned beans coming in close second (look for low sodium versions.)
Fruits & Veggie Options
- Freezer and canned fruits/vegetables can be less expensive but just as nutritious as fresh (look for no salt added, no sauces, etc.)
- If you do buy fresh produce on sale, eat “stem to root” meaning, use all parts like:
- Sauté beet, carrot or turnip leafy green tops and serve as a side or add to pasta or soups
- Shred broccoli stalks to add to salads or slaws
- Add leaves from cauliflower, celery or broccoli into salad or soup
- Use fruit rinds to make juice.
- Canned tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are all inexpensive ways to enjoy the health benefits of fish (look for lower sodium versions when possible):
- Less expensive than more trendy nut butters, peanut butter is packed with protein and healthy fats to keep you fuller longer.
- Beyond sandwich spread, you can mix into oatmeal or use to make sauces or stews.
Real Food Real Deals is one of my favorite blogs for money saving tips, budget recipes and healthy, delicious eats – check it out!
And for when money is really really tight, food banks are an essential resource to many, which is why I am supporting The Great American Milk Drive:
So, when I saw they had partnered with National Dairy Council (a non-profit organization committed to nutrition education, founded by American dairy farmers – and my former employer!) and MilkPEP (American milk processors), to get more milk donation into food banks, I wanted to learn more about this milk drive.
Unfortunately, food insecurity is too common in this great country of ours. Some sobering facts:
- Hunger impacts 1 in 6 Americans
- Hunger impacts ALL communities (Map The Meal Gap shows how it impacts EVERY county in America.)
- Feeding American serves 37 million Americans each year through their network of food banks.
- Compared to 4 years ago, one million MORE people are seeking emergency food assistance from Feeding America’s network EACH WEEK!
- Nutritious meals are harder to come by when you are food insecure. Milk, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, is one of the top three items most requested by food bank clients, yet there is a nationwide shortage at food banks because it is rarely donated.
The Great American Milk Drive was created to assist to help with this milk shortage as it’s a source of high-quality protein, and it offers three of the top nutrients most likely to be missing in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
OK, so how can you help? To contribute The Great American Milk Drive:
- Click on www.milklife.com/give
- By entering your zip code, nutrient-rich milk will be donated from a farm a local food bank
- Through May 25, donations will be matched gallon-for-gallon by the nation’s milk companies and dairy farmers.
Thanks in advance for your support! So, do you have tips for additional cooking/eating healthy on a tight budget?