Tag Archives: eating healthy on a budget

Stir fry recipes

Simple and Savory Stir Fry

Finding a meal your family loves that stays within your budget and schedule can be hard. Making a stir fry meal is a quick and tasty way to stay within budget with foods your family enjoys. Stir frys are great for adding flavor and variety to your menu and can easily be modified to fit your family’s taste buds. Mix and match your favorite grains, proteins, veggies, and sauce for a healthy and budget friendly meal. Combine ingredients using these four simple steps to create a new family favorite!

  1. Cook one of your favorite proteins. Options include:
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Edamame

Keep costs down by picking budget friendly proteins like eggs and canned beans.  Buying meat when it’s on sale and cutting into bite size portions before freezing can save both time and money.  Using meat from another night’s dinner combined with beans is also a time and money saver.

  1. Chop three to four of your favorite veggies. Choices are endless! Options include:
  • Broccoli
  • Snap Peas
  • Baby Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Squash
  • Carrots

Include at least one green veggie in every stir fry to add variety, taste, and color to your dish.  Meals that include more colors are more interesting to kids and have more nutrients too.

  1. Add one of your favorite grains. Options include:
  • Brown Rice
  • Noodles
  • Quinoa

Use whole grains like brown rice or whole-wheat noodles to increase the fiber in your diet and help keep you full for longer periods of time!

  1. Drizzle with one of your favorite sauces or create your own by mixing together:
  • Soy Sauce
  • Broth
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar

Use sauces that you already have in your pantry or create a new, unique favorite!

Use leftovers or ingredients you already have in your pantry or fridge to save time and reduce food waste. To keep the meal within your budget, buy ingredients that are on sale, canned, or frozen.

We choose to make our stir fry with brown rice, chicken, red bell pepper, baby corn, carrots, and broccoli but the combinations are endless! Experiment with different options to make your family’s favorite stir fry. Create a #BetterPantry today!

grain bowl recipe

Build Your Own Grain Bowl

Build your own grain bowl and make an easy, low cost, tasty meal that will help your busy family eat smart. Follow the steps below and use ingredients from your #BetterPantry and you will have a delicious meal that your family will love in no time!

Step 1 – Pick a Base

Choose a whole grain to start your grain bowl. There are lots of tasty whole grains to choose from like brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, or pasta. Whole grains are a great source of heart healthy fiber that will keep your hunger satisfied.

Step 2 – Add Vegetables

Pick your produce and aim for at least one cup of veggies and ⅓ cup of beans for your bowl. Mix and match some of your family’s favorite vegetables so everyone can get in those key nutrients. Mixing raw and cooked vegetables will create an interesting texture profile. You can use frozen veggies as a quick alternative if you are unable to make it to the store to buy fresh produce. Canned black or pinto beans, red kidney beans, or garbanzo beans that you already have stocked in your pantry make a great addition to any bowl.

Step 3 – Add Protein

Add a few ounces of protein. Add lots of flavor by picking a nicely seasoned protein. Pick a lean meat, such as chicken or turkey, seafood high in healthy fats, like salmon, or a fried egg.

Step 4 – Add Sauce

Add a sauce on top to tie your bowl together and add one last flavor punch. Choose from a wide variety of sauces you can find in the supermarket, or might already have in your pantry or fridge. Just a few examples are salsa, teriyaki sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, lemon juice, or BBQ sauce.

Here is an example grain bowl to give you an idea:

      1 cup of quinoa

      ½ cup of steamed asparagus

      ½ cup of steamed broccoli

      1/3 cup of white kidney beans

      a few ounces of leftover rotisserie chicken

      a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette

Get started mixing and matching today to find your favorite grain bowl.

Share your creations in the comments!

Seasonal fall produce

Fall Recipe Ideas

The cool mornings and hints of orange and yellow in the leaves mean that summer is giving way to fall. Most farmers markets are still full of summer’s tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, but cooler weather crops like leafy greens, apples, and winter squash are starting to show up, too.

As the weather changes, so do our meal preferences. It’s not too hot to use the oven and soup is back on the menu. Kids are back in school, bringing back the morning rush and making evenings busier with activities. Sports fans enjoy tailgating almost as much as the actual game. With these fall activities in mind, here are some recipes to add to your menu this season. Continue reading

Five Tips for Shopping Smart at Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are a popular destination for fresh, healthy foods grown in the local area. As more markets accept SNAP/EBT and offer SNAP matching programs, farmers markets are growing in popularity for SNAP shoppers looking for healthy food options for their families. Farmers markets have a reputation for being expensive, but with these tips, you can shop smart and stick to a budget. Continue reading

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Day 2

Today’s post is part of a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

Waking up this morning was hard. I didn’t feel like I had much energy to get going. I wonder if some of that is due to eating less than usual because of the Challenge. My breakfast this morning was overnight oatmeal, a glass of milk, and 2 hardboiled eggs.  

Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight oatmeal

 

Milk and eggs breakfast

Milk and eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting closer to lunch today was not bad- the fiber from the overnight oatmeal and protein from the eggs have kept me feeling fuller. However, I am also aware that being busy at work also plays a role. Lunch was black beans, chicken and rice with olive oil and some red pepper flakes to add a little heat. Unfortunately, I had to rush through lunch and was not able to mindfully eat, again.

black beans chicken and rice  lunch

black beans chicken and rice, already half eaten

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was hungry leaving work again. When I got home, I ate a quick snack of celery with peanut butter and yogurt with berries.

celery and peanut butter afternoon snackYogurt and berries afternoon snack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner tonight was rice and ratatouille, which was tasty, but not as filling as dinner last night with the beans and chicken. So tonight I had an apple with peanut butter and a glass of milk as a late night snack to fill me all the way up.

Ratatouille and rice  Dinner

Ratatouille with rice

Apples and peanut butter late snack

Milk

Again, I didn’t quite meet my calorie, grain and protein needs. Yet, I did better with the amount of grains and calories I ate today compared to yesterday. I ate less protein than yesterday, but that is probably because of my dinner not having any protein.  Even with the increase in grains, I still had a lot of vegetables. Having a lot of vegetables is a good thing, they just didn’t have a lot of calories.

calorie intake

Calories and food groups eaten today (from MyPlate.gov)