The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week from The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week

The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week

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The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week

If your tax refund was unexpectedly high, you have our permission to ball out on every single expensive, kale-based juice and organic chip that Whole Foods has to offer. If you didn’t get as much back as you expected or, alternatively, if you just so happened to owe money to the government, you’re probably looking for some supermarket shortcuts.

Our mention of Whole Foods’ steep prices is something that we wish was a thing of the past. Grocers like Whole Foods provide some of the healthiest food options that often come from reliable sustainable or organic sources. If you’re being forced to eat healthy on a budget, though, such supermarkets are probably above your price point.

Click here for America’s Bets Supermarkets of 2016.

This doesn’t mean that your only option is to feed your family McDonald’s and try to sneak soda into your water cups. We’ll show you how to work the supermarket system in such a way that will allow you to serve cheap meals that are as filling as they are nutritious. Click ahead for The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week.

Bulk is Your Friend

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Bulk is Your Friend

Buying items like meat, beans, and pasta in bulk can save you money. Meat and cooked beans can be frozen, and pasta can be stored indefinitely as long as you’re not keeping it under a heat lamp in your pet gecko’s terrarium, so consider purchasing certain items in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club. Just make sure to perform a price comparison between bulk items and regular-sized items — bigger doesn’t always mean cheaper.

Buy Foods That Fill You Up

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Buy Foods That Fill You Up

Another trick to eating healthy on a budget is to buy food that makes you feel full longer. To do this, you’ll want to make fiber and protein your new best friends. Dried beans, lentils, and split peas are just a few examples of foods that satiate your hunger for longer periods of time (and they can often be readily found in bulk quantities). Complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice are packed with fiber and protein and, since they take your body longer to digest, will help you stay fuller for a longer period of time.

Clip Those Coupons

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Clip Those Coupons

You don’t need to go full-bore extreme couponing to the extent that the grocery store owes you money after you make your purchases, proffering 7,001 coupons at the register while everybody else in line steams. We do think, however, that you should consider bending your knee to the powerful savings that coupons can often offer.

Don’t Let Labels Persuade Your Purchases

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Don’t Let Labels Persuade Your Purchases

If you want to save money on filling, nutrient-dense foodstuffs like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and whole-wheat pasta, then you’re going to have to ignore your favorite brand names and pick up the generic brands instead. If you’ve ever been to Wegmans or Trader Joe’s, then you’re quite aware that store brand products are often as good if not better than large brands.

Eggs Aren’t Just for Breakfast

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Eggs Aren’t Just for Breakfast

A recent study by the government found that eggs are lower in cholesterol than they were previously believed to be. While some used to believe that these delicious breakfast staples could lead to heart disease, such afflictions are more accurately associated with diets high in trans fats and not high cholesterol. Eggs are nutrient-dense, relatively low in calories, and, best of all, they are inexpensive. Working eggs into your lunch and dinner menus (which, incidentally, is the trend in many restaurants today) by, for example, crumbling hard-cooked eggs on salads or toppping your turkey burger with a fried egg instead of cheese will add healthy protein at a pittance.

Here are some interesting facts on eggs.

Embrace the International Year of Pulses

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Embrace the International Year of Pulses

Because most dried beans require soaking before cooking, they tend to be underutilized in the average American kitchen. They’re incredibly inexpensive and healthy, though, so we strongly encourage you to suck it up and soak some dried beans. It’s the International Year of Pulses, you know, so just roll with it. If you want a versatile ingredient, it doesn't get better than dried beans. A cup of dried pinto beans is about 13 cents per cup. Dried beans like black beans and chickpeas are also great sources of fiber and low-fat plant protein. Also consider including more lentils and dried split peas into your diet. Unlike most dried beans, they don't require soaking, and they are still inexpensive and nutritious.

Click here for 5 Delicious Vegan Proteins.

Invest in a Good Knife for Cutting Produce

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Invest in a Good Knife for Cutting Produce

A high-quality knife is the gift that keeps on giving and, unlike precut produce, you’ll only have to pay for it once. Sure, you still have to pay for raw, uncut fruits and vegetables, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than anything that’s been prepped ahead of time.

We’ve found 11 Fruits and Vegetables That Aren’t All That Great for You.

Spending a few extra minutes cutting your fruits and vegetables will save you a lot of money in the long run. Besides, precut fruits and vegetables tend to lose nutrients faster than uncut fruits and vegetables — shortening the time between harvest and consumption is key to sparing nutrients. Cut produce not only loses a lot of flavor, but it also is one step further along in the process of consumption prep (meaning that you’re paying a higher price for less nutrients).

Make Plans, Make Trail Mix

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Make Plans, Make Trail Mix

Impulse buys are perhaps the biggest budget-busters. You can make sure that you stay within your budget by making yourself a list of the foods you're going to buy and sticking with the list. After you’ve acquired your foods, incorporating some form of meal preparation will help you see how much food you have for each day of the week. Try making your own trail mix on Sunday so that your kids can have a healthy snack throughout the week. If you’re looking for great, healthy snacks for when you’re on the go, try some of Jennifer Leah Gottlieb’s recipes.

Raid the Freezer Aisle for Vegetables

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Raid the Freezer Aisle for Vegetables

Even though they are an essential part of a healthy diet, raw vegetables can quickly eat away at a budget. Replacing some of your fresh vegetables with less expensive frozen vegetables can save you money. And don't worry about the healthfulness of frozen vegetables. They contain as much (if not more) of the same vitamins and minerals found in their fresh counterparts. Just as frozen berries do, frozen vegetables can work quite well in smoothies. Consider making your family’s dessert nutritious by incorporating frozen lima beans or spinach into a tasty drink.

Sorry, Carnivores – Eat Less Meat

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Sorry, Carnivores – Eat Less Meat

Eating meat can undoubtedly be part of a healthy diet, but it can also be quite pricey. Pork and chicken prices seem to be steadily rising, and they don’t look like they’re going to go down anytime soon. Plus, organic cuts of meat tend to be expensive.

Click here for 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Eat Red Meat — and 8 Reasons Why You Should.

In light of these price hikes, eating less meat is a great way to save money. For less expensive protein sources, eat more beans and eggs. If you’re an avid, unrelenting meat eater, though, we’ll show you why chicken thighs should be your new go-to protein.

Supplements Can Help

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Supplements Can Help

Never, ever rely on supplements for the majority of your caloric intake. What you should consider, though, is incorporating supplements into your money-saving grocery repertoire. Whey protein powder, pound for pound (gram for gram is probably more realistic), is one of the cheapest ways to take in highly concentrated portions of protein out there. One scoop of Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey contains 24 grams of protein per scoop. If you buy a five-pound tub of the stuff, it’s only $0.77 per 24 grams of protein.

Thighs and Other Cheap Cuts of Meat

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Thighs and Other Cheap Cuts of Meat

If the prospect of eating less meat fills you with more dread than watching the local high school deathrock band on public access TV, then you should consider eating less expensive cuts of meat. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are more expensive because they’re more desirable and require more prep. We suggest buying chicken thighs instead and, if you really want to save some cash, buy things that still have skin and bone. Unlike bone-in steaks from your favorite steakhouse "Arial","sans-serif";color:#222222">, poultry still on the bone in supermarkets is cheaper than boneless cuts. Also, traditionally less expensive cuts of beef like skirt steak and flank steak have become trendy. Like chicken thighs, these cheaper cuts of beef are still quite healthy.

 

Feeling brave? Primal, perhaps? Organ meat tends to be inexpensive color:#222222">, and it’s just as nutritious as standard muscle meat.

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The Cheapest Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Food Seven Nights a Week