USDA releases meal plan guide for stretching your food budget

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Busy families can get help from the United States Department of Agriculture, which has tips for stretching your food budget and eating well when money is limited.

Buy in season: Sticking to fruits and vegetables that are in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness.

Go back to basics: Convenience foods like pre-cut fruits and vegetables and take-out meals often cost more.

Meal prep: Make a large batch of favorite recipes and freeze in individual containers. If you use them throughout the week, you can avoid spending on take-out meals.

Find deals right under your nose: That may include peel-off coupons on items, signs on aisle shelves, or coupons with your receipt.

Search for coupons: Don’t overlook your junk mail! Many stores still mail coupons and ads, or you can find them online.

Look for savings in the newspaper: Brand-name coupons are found in paper inserts every Sunday. Some stores offer double value on coupons on some days of the week.

Join your store’s loyalty program: You can receive savings and electronic coupons when you provide an email address

Find out if your store will match a competitor’s coupon: Many stores will accept coupons for the same item.

Get a coupon buddy: Swap coupons you won’t use with a friend.

Stay organized: Sort your coupons so they’re easy to find.

The USDA has sample two-week menus, recipes and a shopping list that can be used by anyone wanting a healthy diet at a modest price. The USDA created recipes using basic kitchen equipment and made lunches designed to be packable so they can be taken to work or school.


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