Healthy Eating on a Budget

Create a Grocery Game Plan

List your weekly meals image of the Weekly Calendar

Before making a grocery list, write down meals you want to make this week. Buying for the week means you’ll make fewer shopping trips and buy only the items you need. Here are some basic tips for creating your menu and grocery list:

  1. Look in your freezer, cabinets, and refrigerator. Make a note of what you currently have on hand. You can save money by using these items in the upcoming week’s meals.
  2. Use a worksheet, such as the Create a Grocery Game Plan Worksheet to plan your meals and figure out what items you need to buy.
  3. Create a list of recipes to try. Find new ideas for healthy and low-cost meals based on what you have on hand, foods your family enjoys, and foods that are good buys. Search recipes by ingredient using What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl -- an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. Be sure to include some family favorites along with the new recipes.
  4. Think about your schedule. Choose meals you can prepare easily on your busiest days. Save recipes that take longer for days off.

For menu and recipe ideas, take a look at these resources:

What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl (recipe website)
Build a Healthy Meal – 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series (English, Español)
Daily Food Plans and Worksheets
Recipes, Cookbooks, and Menus
Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern

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