Healthy Meal Planning on a Budget

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Healthy Meal Planning on a Budget

The following is a guest post by Cindy Hamilton from Family Health and Nutrition.

With so much processed and pre-packaged foods lining the grocery store shelves these days, it’s hard to know how to truly prepare healthy meals for your family, especially on a budget! But, it can be done. With a little effort and some planning, you can have healthy meals without breaking the bank.


1. The best way to keep your family from eating unhealthy foods like candy, soda, chips and cookies is to NOT BUY THEM! Not only will it not be available for munching around the house, it will also save room in your food budget for healthier items!

2. Never go to the store hungry or with your children! Both your hunger and your children are easily tempted.

3. Make your meal plan at the beginning of each week. Start by deciding your meals for the entire week including breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks. If you don’t have a plan for everything you will eat, you will be tempted to grab unhealthy food from the vending machine or from a fast food restaurant. (Check out my Monday Meal Planner each week for healthy meal ideas!)

4. Make your grocery list before leaving your house. I often use coupons for things like whole grain pasta, olive oil, almonds, frozen vegetables and organic dairy products. Try to spend half your budget on fruits and vegetables and the other half on whole grain bread & pasta, lean meat, dairy and beans.

*Money-Saving Tip: Buy organic meat and produce when it is on sale to freeze and use later. Things like berries and peaches can be used in smoothies or over whole grain pancakes and frozen veggies can be used in a variety of dishes like soups and sauces.


1. Decide NOT to prepare processed or pre-packaged food for your family. Most pre-packaged foods are high in sodium and other chemicals. There are hundreds of healthy and easy recipes that don’t require much work. Try putting chicken in the crock pot with some broth, onion, garlic and lemon juice. At dinnertime, boil some brown rice and steam a few veggies for a quick and healthy dinner in minutes!

2. Make once a week your prep day. Use that day to make broth (boil leftover organic veggies or organic chicken to make your own FREE organic broth!), soak and cook dried beans so they will be ready for use, roast a turkey for sandwiches instead of deli meat, prepare and freeze healthy meals for the week, etc. This will make healthy eating during a busy week much easier to manage.

3. Put healthy snacks like raisins, trail mix, washed fruit, and string cheese on low shelves in your pantry and refrigerator to make healthy snacking easy for your kids.

4. Set the family dinner table. Eating as a family is one of the healthiest things you can do! Kids who have family dinners tend to do better in school, have a better self-image and have healthier eating habits.

With a little planning, healthy eating can be affordable and easy!

Cindy writes at Family Health and Nutrition, where you can find ideas for healthy meal planning, healthy grocery shopping on a budget, ideas for an environmentally-friendly home and more!

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By | 2010-07-08T08:00:55+00:00 July 8th, 2010|Health and Wellness, Home and Garden|6 Comments

About the Author:

I'm a former sweet-tooth turned health-nut. After a difficult loss of a first pregnancy and having a second child with a heart condition, I became obsessed with health and wellness. I revamped our entire family's lifestyle, dropped seven pant sizes, and created a website where I could share our story and help support people wanting to make small changes day by day in order to live well. I also support my family by the work that I do here through advertising content, affiliates, and partnership/consultant links within content. When you click and/or order, it puts food on our table. Thanks for all your support, and may you live well and thrive!


  1. Natalie Watson July 8, 2010 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Great article, but I couldn’t get the meal planner link to work… Not sure if anyone else is having this problem.

  2. Jelynn July 8, 2010 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Kraft foods has a great website for meal planning. You can browse their meal options and then click on “add to list” and it will create a grocery list of ingredients you will need for those meals.
    This makes shopping a piece of cake! (Pun intended). I find it cuts back on the wasted food and this way you never can say ” I have chicken and nothing to do with it…”

  3. Cindy Hamilton July 8, 2010 at 11:00 am - Reply
  4. Stacy Rollstin-Weiland July 8, 2010 at 11:10 am - Reply

    I could not get the meal planner to work either. 🙂

  5. Cindy Hamilton July 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm - Reply
  6. Rebecca July 9, 2010 at 11:10 am - Reply

    #2 doesn’t work for everyone, when my husband isn’t home (military) I have to take my children to the store. Instead of opting to leave them at home with someone, I’m just firm with “NO.”

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