Even with economy headed in a supposedly upward direction, times are still tough and the cost of food seems to go up with every trip to the grocery store. It can be difficult to feed your family well on a tight budget, but it can be hard on your conscious to buy cheap processed foods over their more nutritious and expensive fresh counterparts at the store. After all, articles cover Facebook and the news every day to tell you how terrible GMO food is, how you have to eat organic or else get an overdose of excess hormones and antibiotics, and it’s hard to ignore them when you’ve got growing kids gobbling up what you put on the table. Here are a few tips to making your dollar stretch at the grocery store, even when you’re trying to work heartier meals into your budget.

Planning Ahead and Reusing Ingredients

Healthy Food Does Not Have To Break The Bank

Healthy Food Does Not Have To Break The Bank

Planning is an important part of making sure no food goes to waste in your pantry or fridge, and to help stave of impulse buys when you’re not quite sure what your kitchen needs and you’re out on a quick grocery run. To avoid spending mishaps or buying ingredients that ultimately end up going to waste, you can plan ahead using a meal plan and making sure to always keep a grocery list on hand at the store. Pick meals that have similar, reusable ingredients. Spaghetti, tacos, and hamburger helper or a similar stroganoff-style meal all use ground beef, so you safely pick up a bulk amount knowing none of it will go bad. Accompany main dishes with a few staple, cheap sides like rice and potatoes.

Making Meats Last

Make The Most Out Of Your Meat

Make The Most Out Of Your Meat

When you buy meat for your family, it takes up quite a chunk of your grocery budget and seems to disappear almost as soon as you stock the fridge and freezer. In order to make meats like ground beef, poultry, and pork last longer than one use, you’ll have to implement a few tricks. The first is to make a large soup or casserole that will leave you with some leftovers for a second meal. You can also chop or shred meat and mix it with fillers like corn and beans to stuff empanada shells, bell peppers, or any other “bowl” food your family likes. Don’t be afraid to work in some vegetarian entrees into the menu either. There are plenty of cheap and filling meatless recipes to choose from.

Hit Up the Farmer’s Market at the Last Minute

Get Fresh And Cheap Veggies  For Your Family

Get Fresh And Cheap Veggies For Your Family

Farmer’s Markets are notorious for being expensive, but they don’t have to be. A final way to get your family eating healthy for cheap is to get in on late farmer’s market shopping. You may get fewer options to choose from, but by the end of a long day, many vendors will heavily discount their wares or even give them away in attempt to get rid of food without throwing it away. Take advantage of these bargains to get your family fresh veggies for cheap.