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Healthy Eating on a Budget . Created by Lindsay P. McDaniel, Dietetic Intern and Lindsey Willis, RD Modified by Jenna Steffen, medical student University of Nebraska Medical Center. Stay Healthy . Don’t sacrifice good nutrition when you’re on a budget

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Healthy Eating on a Budget

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healthy eating on a budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Created by

Lindsay P. McDaniel, Dietetic Intern

and Lindsey Willis, RD

Modified by

Jenna Steffen, medical student

University of Nebraska

Medical Center

stay healthy
Stay Healthy
  • Don’t sacrifice good nutrition when you’re on a budget
  • Don’t think healthy foods are always more expensive
  • Do know your food groups
  • Do know what foods are the cheapest
  • Whole grains are better for you:
    • Try whole wheat bread instead of white bread
    • Try whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta
    • Try brown rice instead of white rice
  • Budget friendly grains: potatoes, oatmeal, pasta & rice
fruits vegetables
Fruits & Vegetables
  • 5 servings per day
  • Eat colorfullyto get a wide variety of

vitamins & minerals

  • Budget friendly fruits & vegetables: canned & frozen vegetables (store brand), seasonal fresh fruits, whole carrots, head lettuce
  • Low-fat & fat-free dairy are better for you:
    • Try milk instead of other drinks like soda
    • Try skim, 1%, or 2% milk instead of whole milk
    • Skim or 1% milk is now recommended for kids as well
  • Budget friendly milk: fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1-2%) milk
meats beans
Meats & Beans
  • Lean protein is better for you:
    • Try fish or poultry instead of beef
    • Try baked, broiled, or grilled meats instead of fried meats
    • Try beans or peas – these are GREAT budget friendly, healthy proteins!
  • Budget friendly foods that fit this category: eggs, beans, canned tuna, most meats
  • Limit intake of sweets & fats:
    • Try cooking with olive or canola oil instead of vegetable oil
    • Try fruit for dessert instead of other sweets
plan ahead
Plan Ahead
  • Decide on 4-5 dishes for the week
  • Make a shopping list & stick to it!
  • Check out store ads for specials – but decide if you really need the items
  • Don’t impulse buy
shop smart
Shop Smart
  • Avoid shopping when hungry, tired, or in a hurry
  • Shop the perimeter of the store first – this is where you find the freshest & cheapest foods
    • Items in the middle of the store (aisles) are more processed = more cost
shop smart11
Shop Smart
  • Limit snack and dessert items – adds cost but does not provide many nutrients
  • Buy store brands – cheaper & tastes the same!
  • check expiration dates to make sure food will stay fresh
stock your kitchen
Stock your kitchen
  • Keep dry goods on hand:
    • pasta, rice, cereals, herbs & spices
  • Stock up when on sale:
    • Frozen foods & food in cans and jars last longer
  • Buy some items in bulk – if you can store it & use it before it expires
  • Buy small amounts of perishable items:
    • fresh fruits and vegetables, milk
mix meals up
Mix Meals Up
  • Include different colors, flavors & textures
  • Plan to have foods from at least 3 of the

food groups at each meal

-Example: Chicken, rice and broccoli

or milk, oatmeal, and fruit

cook once serve twice
Cook Once, Serve Twice
  • Most cooked foods/dishes can be stored

safely for 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator

  • Use leftovers creatively
  • Freeze small portions of casseroles, stews, soups, meats, etc.
avoid fast food or eating out
Avoid Fast Food or Eating Out
  • Making meals at home saves money
  • Fast food & eating out is:
    • Less nutritious
    • Costs more
    • Can take more time
example of budget breakfast meals
Example of Budget Breakfast Meals
  • Egg on an English Muffin with a slice of cheese= less than $2
  • Oatmeal with dried fruit, canned fruit, or fresh fruit = less than $1
  • Cereal with skim milk= $1
  • Fruit with yogurt= less than $2
  • Eggs with whole grain toast= less than $2
examples of healthy snack ideas
Examples of Healthy Snack Ideas
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • String Cheese
  • Cheese with Crackers
  • Peanut butter with banana sandwich
  • Pretzels
example recipe baked ziti
Example Recipe – Baked Ziti


1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta

24 ounces ricotta cheese

1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.

In a medium bowl, mix ziti, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by Parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 7 servings.