eating on budget

Eating on a Budget: 5 Ways to Fill Your Belly When Your Wallet is Empty

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive.  Here are 5 ways to stretch your food budget:

1.       Drink More Water

Instead of spending money on bottled drinks, invest in a filtered water bottle and refill often! Bottled water is no different from tap water in terms of safety. If you’re not a fan of plain water, here are some tips on how to make drinking water taste better.

2.       Plan Your Menus

Check out deals at your local grocery store and plan meals based on what’s on sale. Create menus and grocery lists in advance and stick to your budget!

3.       Bulk Cook and Freeze

Once you plan your menus then the next step is to find recipes that you can bulk cook and freeze. Bulk and freezer cooking allows you to cook once a week or even just once a month!  For additional tips, check out: Freezer Cooking and Batch Cooking 101

 4.       Try “Meatless” Mondays

Protein is usually the most expensive part of a grocery budget, so “Meatless” Mondays might be one way to cut costs.  Try eggs, tofu, and beans as an alternative protein source to save money without skimping on the nutritional benefits.

 5.       Skip the Supplements

Supplements are not a replacement for food, so if you can’t afford food then don’t waste money on supplements! Plus, dietary supplements can be dangerous and could cause more harm than good. For additional information, see the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.


About Natasha Chong Cole, MPH, RD

Natasha Chong Cole is a Registered Dietitian and currently a doctoral student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Public Health degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University.  Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as a clinical dietitian and nutrition consultant, specializing in health and wellness, intuitive eating, and weight management. Her research interests include interventions in childhood obesity prevention, and the influence of parental feeding practices on the development of food intake behavior in infants and toddlers. 


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