Eating Well on a Budget: Smart Strategies for National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month is a time to focus on nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods that support our health and well-being. However, eating healthy can sometimes feel out of reach, especially when you're on a tight budget. But fear not! With the right strategies and a little creativity, it's possible to enjoy nutritious meals without breaking the bank. As a Registered Dietitian at Jefferson County Health Center (JCHC), I'm here to share some expert tips for eating well on a budget and a budget friendly recipe: Broccoli Potato Soup.

1. Plan Ahead and Stick to a Budget:

The key to eating healthy on a budget is planning ahead and sticking to a budget. Start by creating a weekly or monthly meal plan based on budget-friendly ingredients like beans, lentils, whole grains, and seasonal produce. Make a shopping list and stick to it while grocery shopping to avoid impulse purchases. Look for sales, discounts, and coupons to maximize your savings without sacrificing nutrition.

2. Embrace Plant-Based Proteins:

Plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh are not only affordable but also packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Incorporate these budget-friendly protein sources into your meals in place of more expensive animal proteins. Try adding beans to soups, salads, and casseroles, or making tofu stir-fries and lentil-based curries for a delicious and satisfying meal without breaking the bank.

3. Buy in Bulk and Cook in Batch:

Buying staple ingredients like rice, pasta, oats, and dried beans in bulk can save you money in the long run. Look for bulk bins at your local grocery store or consider joining a wholesale club to purchase these items at a discounted price. Cook large batches of meals like soups, stews, and casseroles and freeze individual portions for quick and convenient meals throughout the week. This not only saves you time and money but also reduces food waste.

4. Shop Seasonal and Local Produce:

Seasonal and local produce is often more affordable and fresher than out-of-season or imported options. Visit farmers' markets, co-ops, and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs to find locally grown fruits and vegetables at competitive prices. Take advantage of seasonal sales and stock up on fresh produce to enjoy a variety of nutritious options while staying within your budget.

5. Limit Processed and Convenience Foods:

Processed and convenience foods like pre-packaged meals, snacks, and sugary beverages tend to be more expensive and less nutritious than whole foods. Limiting these items in your grocery cart can help you save money while promoting better health. Instead, opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which offer more nutritional value for your money.

6. Get Creative with Leftovers:

Don't let leftovers go to waste! Get creative and repurpose leftover ingredients into new meals to stretch your food budget further. Use leftover roasted vegetables in omelets or salads, turn cooked grains into grain bowls or stir-fries, and transform leftover proteins into sandwiches or wraps. Experimenting with different flavor combinations and cooking techniques can breathe new life into leftovers and prevent food waste.

In conclusion, eating well on a budget is achievable with careful planning, smart shopping, and creative cooking. By planning ahead, embracing plant-based proteins, buying in bulk, shopping seasonal and local produce, limiting processed foods, and getting creative with leftovers, you can enjoy nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Let's make National Nutrition Month a time to prioritize health and wellness for everyone, regardless of budget constraints.

Looking for more help in following a nutritious diet? Talk to your Primary Care Provider about dietitian services. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if dietitian services are covered. Then talk to your Primary Care Provider about a referral. For questions about dietician services, call 641-469-4245.


Click the link below to view the recipe.

Broccoli Potato Soup.pdf





Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2021). "Nutrition Expert Offers Tips for Student Athletes."

Drewnowski, A., & Eichelsdoerfer, P. (2010). "Can Low-Income Americans Afford a Healthy Diet?" Nutrition Today, 44(6), 246–249.

United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). "Choose MyPlate: Budget-Friendly Tips."