Eating Real Food on a Food Stamp or SNAP Budget
Learn how to make your SNAP/food stamps last all month with these tips. Eat good food with easy recipes and stretch your benefits to last longer.
Eating healthy certainly isn’t cheap, especially if you have several mouths to feed. If you happen to be on the Food Stamp or SNAP budget, which averages out to a little over $4 a person, per family for each day, buying healthier meal options becomes even trickier. Let’s talk about how to make food stamps last all month and eating healthy on a SNAP budget.
You, like so many other Americans, may feel the only way to stretch that money is by turning to processed foods and other cheaper options. But it’s a sacrifice that you don’t have to make. Your meal planning and trips to the store may just need to be looked at a little differently.
Thankfully, there are still several ways in which your family can be eating healthy food on a food stamp/snap budget. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind.
Plan Out Meals Before Heading to the Grocery Store
Our first bit of advice is that you need to have a game plan before ever stepping foot in the grocery store. Never shop with the mistaken mindset of picking out things that look good at the time. Carefully plan out all your meals to help you save money.
You may be thinking that this may be easier said than done? If you are needing more direction with this, check out some of my posts on Meal Planning here:
- Meal Planning Ideas – Plan Then Shop
- Meal Planning Ideas – Shop Then Plan
- Simple Meal Planning Shortcuts
- Free Meal Planning Printables
Build your Pantry
One of the best ways to get started towards having more healthier options is by building your food pantry. This includes purchasing proteins and other meal fillers, such as bagged beans, lentils, brown rice, and canned vegetables.
You may also want to consider buying these types of items in bulk, that way you can use them multiple times and stretch them out over several meals. It might cost you a little more upfront, but you’ll save more by shopping this way. Buying in bulk is one of the best ways of shopping cost-effectively. Check out my Pantry Staples Recipes too to use up some of those items you are buying in bulk.
While fresh produce may be your preferred way of eating your vegetables, you never have to worry about canned vegetables that you use as a base in your meals from ever going bad.
Build Meals from the Basics
We’ve already brushed on this a bit already, but building meals with the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator can save you a bunch of money. Take the bagged beans for instance. You can prepare and serve them in a burrito for dinner and then use them in a soup for lunch the next day.
Try not to look at ingredients as only being used in one meal possibility, but using them alongside several other ingredients for an entirely different meal. This also helps cut down on waste as well. We have tons of frugal Recipes as well.
Compare Unit Prices
Another helpful tool is to learn how to compare unit prices between shelf tags. Most stores make this very easy for you to do, and already have the unit pricing broken up for you. This way you can pick out products that you can save more on, which are just as comparable to similar items.
Find Great Deals on Meat and Freeze It
Whenever you see an awesome deal on meat, don’t hesitate to stock up on good deals instead of buying it at full retail. Break it down into smaller meal portions and then put them in the freezer until you need them.
We bought a used freezer for out freezer beef. If you have any extra money to grab one, this can really help you build a freezer stockpile as well.
Keep Stocked Up on Eggs
Eggs are another one of those proteins that are extremely affordable and can be used in so many different ways. They can be enjoyed for breakfast, in a snack, or served alongside a steak dinner. Consider keeping a healthy supply of them to add more options to your meals.
Be Willing to Substitute Ingredients
Sometimes healthier recipes call for expensive ingredients that are ridiculously out of your price range. Or maybe the store doesn’t have the ingredient that you’re looking for.
Instead of scraping that meal idea, choose to substitute and incorporate a similar ingredient that isn’t going to break the bank.
When a recipe is calling for almond butter (which can cost around $12 a jar), you may need to compromise a smidge by using cheaper nut spreads.
Shop During Season for Produce
The best time to shop for certain fruits and vegetables is when they are in season. Not only do they taste better but they are usually cheaper too. It may be in your best interest to stick with buying produce that is in the season to save yourself more money down the road.
Check out my What to Buy When series to know what’s in stock at different times of the year.
Shop Produce in Moderations
It only takes a couple of days before the produce in your refrigerator starts to turn. It may seem like every time you go to use that bag of lettuce or tomato, it’s already spent. Try purchasing your produce more in moderation instead of stocking up an entire week’s worth.
If you are able to stop in at the grocery store two or three times a week for your product, it’s worth it. For some families, this tip may not work, but for others, it can cut down on waste.
Consider Buying Canned or Frozen Fruits or Vegetables
Most shoppers enjoy buying their fruits and vegetables in the produce department where it’s fresh. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t continue to enjoy your produce this way, but think about stocking up more on canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. This way you are still getting the same amount of nutrients and you don’t have to worry about your greens from rotting.
Learn How to Make Food Stamps Last All Month
Would you believe that it’s possible to eat not only healthy but for as little as $4 a day, per person in your household? You don’t have to compromise and resort to shopping for processed foods to stretch your money.
What challenges or successes have you discovered while eating healthy food on a food stamp/snap budget? Do you have any other useful information that would be helpful for other families that are on the food stamp/snap budget?
Man, I WISH I had$400/month to spend on groceries!! Try making it work with $250!!
400 a month?! if someone gets that much in foodstamps that’s great, but I get 70 a month and that’s all i have! try that please!!
$160/mo for 2 people here. Single mom. Anything else gets taken out of the $150-$200 left after bills & things like laundry soap.
Try making it work with $170 per month!!
I’m pretty site she admitted it won’t work for everyone… and remember the$400 is for a family of 4, so if you have less than that, and less people to feed will work…
Is there any tips for gluten free foods with high vitamins and minerals for underweight individuals with $750 a month for 10 people?
Wow…$400. Our family of four was only granted $120 dollars a month, with just one working parent who makes barely 11$ an hour…
I only get $15 a month for just myself.
It is hard to come in at or under most of the “dollar menus ” when it is just one person. I have learned to freeze milk, bread, and many other things. Does anyone have a suggestion about tomato paste? My granddaughter and I love Japanese white sauce but it only takes one TEAspoon. I measured out one teaspoon and placed them on wax paper, when they were mostly frozen I rolled up the paper and put it in a freezer bag but it had freezer burn before I could use any more.