A common complaint during difficult economic times is that "you can't eat healthy on a tight budget." There is a way to buy smart and eat smart, if you follow some key guidelines.
Go frozen when it comes to produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables can actually be healthier than fresh. Farmers tend to leave the produce on trees longer and then pick it and immediately freeze it, so nutrient value can be higher. You will find the price point of frozen fruits and vegetables significantly more forgiving than fresh and they have a longer shelf life than fresh, so you won't throw out spoiled or rotten produce. They are also available from your freezer on a moment's notice and can be added to stews and soups to bulk them up.
Pasta, rice and beans are always affordable and they're also quite filling. Since experts say you should eat less meat, these choices can offer protein (pasta comes in high protein versions now) at prices far cheaper than meats and poultry. They have a stable long shelf life and you can add your bargain frozen produce to create an array of entrée choices. Make chili, stir fry, stews and use leftovers in wraps and pita pockets.
Eating home more often can be cheaper in general since you can control serving sizes and how much leftover remains. On average food prepared at home costs less than restaurant food and it's certainly healthier than fast food options since you can limit salt, fat and sugar in your recipes. Let's also remember that eating a diet high in fast food and processed foods can raise your risk of costly health issues later on.
Learn proper portion sizes so that you begin to buy items like meat and fish by four or six ounce portion size increments. Make salads and fruits salad the only foods served family style.
Other ways to save food:
Plan ahead by creating several meals around sale items like chicken cutlets, lean meats and fish that you purchase in bulk packs.
Shop with lists to avoid impulse purchases.
Remember that you can freeze fresh vegetables and fruit on sale.
Invest in a slow cooker or crock pot, which will allow you to use slightly bruised vegetables and fruits on sale.
Buy generic and learn to clip coupons. Online sources allow you to print weekly coupons and to even post a food profile. Companies will then send you coupons based on the information you post.