Staying within a limited budget when planning healthy family meals can be a challenge! Read on for ideas on how to eat well even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on food.

Click here for a Nutritious Food Basket Worksheet to help budget your meals.
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Follow these tips based on Canada’s Fodd Guide to get the most value from your dollar when shopping for and cooking family meals.

Vegtables and Fruit

Grain Products

Vegtables and fruit are essential for good health and provide important nutrients. Dark green and orange varieties have greater nutritional value so include these often in your meals. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain breads and cereals give you more nutrients for your food dollar and are a sure way to add fibre to your meals.
Savings Tips

Frozen or canned vegtables and fruit can be as nutritious as fresh. They are an economical option year round, especially when fresh is not available.

Savings Tips

Consider buying day old bread to make toast. Buy oatmeal and rice in large bags and avoid instant products which cost more.

Milk and Alternatives

Meats and Alternatives

Milk products are important for growing children as they provide bone building nutrients. Good choices include fluid or powdered milk, fortified soy beverages, yogurt and cheese. There are many ways to get protein in your meals without meats. Beans, lentils and tofu are inexpensive options. Canned fish, eggs and peanut butter are also good alternatives to meat.
Savings Tips

Skim milk powder is less expensive and just as nutritious as fluid milk. Use skim milk powder with water in place of regular milk in recipes. Buy large size containers of yogurt instead of individual packs. Shred cheese yourself to save money.

Savings Tips

Put dried beans, peas or lentils in bag and prepare them yourself rather than buying canned. Go for less expensive cuts of meats such as stewing beef, flank steak, ground beef, whole chicken, thighs and legs.

Simple tips to Stretch your dollar

  • Make a shopping list based on your meal plan to make sure you buy only what you need.
  • Check newspapers and flyers for items on sale and stock up.
  • Use coupons to save money on items you usually buy. Find coupons online in newspapers, in magazines, and at your local grocery store.
  • Look for store brand products as they tend to cost less.
  • If you are able to buy larger size packages if you can use the food before the “best before” date.
  • Freeze extra food items or leftovers to seal in freshness and maintain nutritional value for a later date.
  • Shop at grocery stores or farmers markets instead of convenience stores which tend to have higher prices for grocery staples.
  • Frozen foods can offer meal time flexibility use what you need and return the rest to the freezer.
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