You will find tips to eat cheap and how to reduce grocery bill in this article. One of the hardest parts about lowering your grocery budget is that feeling of lacking abundance in your pantry. You open the door, only to find that you don’t have your normal snacks and convenience foods to munch on.
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Then comes dinner time and you have no idea what to cook because all you see are ingredients, instead of semi-homemade meals you can throw together.
Let me simplify eating cheap. The hardest part about lowering your grocery budget is coming up with meal ideas. A lot of times, when I feel like I’m in a brain funk, I will just google the ingredients I have to see what meals the internet can come up with. Sometimes I google: brown rice, frozen peas, potatoes. And to my surprise, google is pretty good at giving me recipes to choose from, AMAZING!
However, most of the time I keep cooked ingredients in the refrigerator, which means I can quickly throw together different meals.
Big Pot of Brown Rice
Disclosure: I know there are people that believe you can get food poisoning from rice. We have been eating brown rice like this for years and have never had a problem. Do some research and make your own personal choice, or make rice daily… up to you! 🙂
Every week you will find 2 pounds of cooked brown rice in my refrigerator. We are big rice eaters and love it. I have several recipes on my blog that make rice the main event, and that’s because we eat a lot of it.
Brown rice is cheap!!!!!! Even organic brown rice is cheap!!!!! Plus, there are several health benefits.
- maintains healthy levels of cholesterol
- helps prevent certain cancers
- helps control weight by keeping you fuller longer
- rich in Manganese and Selenium
- full of FIBER, which keeps your bowels working!!!!
For a full list of my favorite rice recipes, check out this post above.
Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another ingredient I like to keep prepped in the fridge. Cooked sweet potatoes can easily be thrown into pancake mixes, muffins, my burger patties, or dillas (recipes in the link above), and are great additions to salads, soups, or even hummus and sandwich spreads.
They are very easy to prepare. I just wash and put in a 9X13 baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You will smell them when they are done.
Let them cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. The skin can easily be removed, but honestly, try to eat it because it’s packed full of nutrients!
Buy LOTS of Bananas
We buy 20 bananas or more for each week, and honestly we could probably buy 30! They are so cheap, healthy, and easy to grab as a snack. I know the myths that bananas have too much sugar, make you constipated, and have no nutritional value… but those are MYTHS!!!!! Bananas are GOOD FOR YOU!!!!
The key is to eat a ripe banana with little brown dots (not green ones) if you have constipation issues. Also, the more ripe they get, the sweeter they become, which means they can even be a great replacement for sugar in baked goods.
Bananas are packed full of vitamins and minerals, even a little protein! Yep, protein! I eat 1 to 2 bananas every day, and my kids love them for school snacks. So eat bananas regularly and enjoy this cheap snack.
The Power of Greens
When I ask you what greens you eat typically in a week, I bet I can guess them! Salad greens and spinach… but God created an abundance of green vegetables, and yet we aren’t getting the magnitude of benefits they offer just by eating 2 kinds. How to reduce grocery bill can be so easy to do when you eat greens.
I LOVE Dr. Esselstyn’s little riddle of the best green leafy veggies, so lets hear it from the source!
So how can we get these green superfoods into our diet?!? Build them into your meal plan eat week. They are very inexpensive to eat, and are the best foods on the planet for you.
Eat CHEAP Foods
Read the Cheap Healthy Foods List
Here is a list of CHEAP HEALTHY FOODS that you can use as a guide when coming up with a meal plan. This is not a plant-based list, so no matter the diet you are on, you will find something helpful.
Stop focusing your meal plan around expensive recipes! Pinterest is an amazing resource for meal planning inspiration, but it can also cause several pitfalls if you’re trying to save money.
Keep your focus on the foods that you already own, and cheap foods that you can build a delicious meal around. If a recipe is focused on 3-cheeses, then the recipe may cost you too much to make. If the recipe is centered around a beef roast, the recipe might cost you too much to make. Get my drift?
Focus of recipes that are centered around grains, beans, mushrooms, greens, breads, potatoes, and so on.
Don’t Make Different Meals Every Night
An easy way on how to reduce grocery bill, is by having a few “leftovers” nights for dinner (aka: Whatever Wednesday). Sometimes we do a couple nights of burrito bowls. This doesn’t mean Monday and Tuesday we eat burrito bowls, but maybe Monday and Thursday night we do. Just because you have leftovers, doesn’t mean you have to eat it 2 nights in a row!
Think outside the box of typical leftovers. On my menu plan I have Wednesdays left pretty open. We have “Whatever Wednesday,” which means the fridge is stocked with leftovers of a few different things, and you can create your own dinner. So whatever you want, is whatever you get! Genius, huh?!? Not my idea either, so I can’t take the credit.
Create Ingredient Bowls
I am a huge advocate of power bowls. They are my favorite meal because they have the same concept, but the creation is always totally different.
This is the definition of a power bowl to me:
- Base: a starch – rice (of any kind), or chopped potato (of any kind)
- Middle: veggies and beans – steamed kale, beets, carrots, corn, broccoli, black beans, red beans, lentils, etc.
- Topping: sauce – ketchup, peanut sauce, salsa, teriyaki sauce, dressing, etc.
We eat some version of a bowl a few times per week. Actually tonight, we are having burrito bowls!
Lets Talk Snacks
Snacks will kill your grocery budget! Chips, crackers, fruit snacks, cookies, or anything that’s processed. If you are a big snacker, then consider whole foods.
Popcorn is a major snack in my house. We buy it in the bulk section or in just a bag, the kernels that is! We pop our own popcorn and it’s super easy to do.
Put 1/4 cup kernels in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top over twice, and microwave for 2 minutes. Add a little salt and cinnamon, or whatever you’d like.
Dried Fruit and Fruit Leather
Fruit leather or even dried fruit can easily be made in an oven. If you have it in your budget, then you will love the food dehydrator that we have! Link below:
Fruit fruits are delicious and very inexpensive, especially if you buy the product on sale or find some in the clearance section.
Fruit leather can easily be made from a bag of frozen fruit. Simply thaw the fruit, and blend it in the blender with a little sweetener like maple syrup, spread onto a baking dish and bake!
A box of fruit bars or granola bars are definitely cheap, but they are laden with preservatives. Here’s a really cheap option and my family loves them!
Muffins are a great snack and the varieties are endless! I have many muffin recipes, most using oat flour (oats ground into flour from a blender) which makes them CHEAP to make!
A can of garbanzo beans is less than a dollar, and dry beans are much cheaper! If you’re worried about protein, make your kiddos dessert hummus with sliced fruit. My kids devour it!
I hope you feel inspired to take control of your grocery budget in this article How To Reduce Grocery Bill! Just remember, your grocery budget is your most flexible bill each month. You do not need to sacrifice your health to be healthy. Let us know any more tips you might like to add to this list in the comments below.