How to Stretch Your Food Budget
Meat accounts for the most expense at grocery store visits, so make one or two vegetarian dinners a week to cut costs. Dishes based on pantry staples like rice, whole grains, beans, and legumes are protein-rich, filling, and inexpensive; add seasonal produce for crunch, freshness, and color. A bonus: Research shows eating more plant-based foods may lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Instead of making protein the center of the plate, use it sparingly for flavor and texture―almost as if it’s a condiment. Extend beef by tossing a conservative amount in a vegetable-rich stir-fry, for example, or combine a small quantity of shrimp with pasta. Pizzas, calzones, pasta bakes, and casseroles are easy dishes that use this strategy to great effect.