National Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Month •
30 Ways in
30 Days to Stretch Your Fruit & Vegetable Budget
appropriate Healthy Food Budget for your family, based on USDA’s Low- Cost Food
Plan. This easy-to-use calculator, offered by
Iowa State University Extension, helps to create a budget for what is a
reasonable amount to spend to feed your family healthy meals. (www.extension.iastate.
Cook enough for
several meals and freeze leftovers.
Place enough food for 1-2 meals in each container.
Create a meal plan for the week
that uses similar fruits and vegetables, prepared in different ways. Make the
most out of the produce that you buy.
Buy fruits and
vegetables in season at farmers’ markets or at your local
Grow your own vegetables. Invest a little in seeds, and get a lot of
vegetables in return. Try indoor pots or greenhouse growing for the cooler
months. Visit www.cdc.gov/Features/GrowingVegetables/ for
yourself. 100% juice from frozen concentrate is often less
expensive per serving than pre-bottled juice.
Minimize waste, by buying only the amounts your family will eat.
food math. Taking the time to make a food budget
before grocery trips can make food buying decisions easier. Simple food math
can help you decide if the watermelon or the bunch of grapes is a better buy.
comforts of home more often. Eating at restaurants can
increase the amount you spend on food. Include fruits and vegetables in quick,
simple meals that you prepare at home. Visit http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/for more information.
creative! To get the most out of your purchase,
enjoy your fruits and vegetables in different ways. For example, you can use
fruits for dessert. Try baking apples or poaching pears with some cinnamon.
Visit www. fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for more
Homemade soup is
a healthy and tasty way to use vegetables. Make a big batch and freeze
leftovers in small lunch-size containers.
Look for sales and deals on
fruits & vegetables at the grocery store or through coupons.
Cut your fruits and vegetables at
home. Pre-cut produce can cost much more than whole fruits and
Don’t shop hungry.
Eat a healthy snack, such as an apple, before going to the grocery store so
that you stick to your budget and avoid spending money set aside for fruit and
vegetables on less healthy temptations.
Maximize your time and money.
Cut coupons for foods, such as fruits and vegetables, only on your grocery
Canned fruits and vegetables will
last a long time and can be a healthy addition to a variety of meals. Choose
canned vegetables that have no added salt and fruit that is canned in 100%
Frozen fruit and
vegetables store well in the freezer until you’re ready to add them to a meal.
Pick your own at local farms. Late
summer and early fall is a great time to pick your own fruits and vegetables.
This can be a fun and less expensive way to buy in bulk and freeze, can, or dry
Dried fruit lasts
for a long time, but can be expensive. Buy in bulk with friends and share the
be a great budget choice for many forms of fruits and vegetables.
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
and Senior Farmers Market coupons can be used by WIC participants and
older adults to purchase locally-grown, delicious fruits and vegetables.
When trying new fruits and
vegetables, buy in small amounts. Taste test before you change your
Keep it simple. Buy
dried beans, peas, and lentils in their raw or uncooked form instead of the
processed and packaged versions which cost more.
Avoid buying single servings.
Purchasing many small packages of produce is often more expensive than buying
in larger amounts.
Shop at discount grocery stores for
good deals on fruits and vegetables, especially canned items.
Shop at large grocery stores instead
of small convenience stores when possible. There is more choice and the produce
is often less expensive at larger stores.
To make many fresh fruits and
vegetables last longer, store them in the refrigerator or
freezer soon after getting home from your shopping trip. Many cookbooks offer
specific freezing instructions.
Clearly label your foods in
the freezer and refrigerator with the contents and date to stay within a safe
Get creative with your leftover
fruits and vegetables. Make salsa from your tomatoes and
smoothies from your fruits! Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov to
30. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables in
large bags to stretch your budget (e.g., green
beans and blueberries). Avoid those with added sugar, salt, or sauce.
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