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Meal Plans on a Budget

Help on creating healthy meal plans on a limited budget and busy schedule:

• Find nutritious, dietitian-created recipes on your budget and schedule on EatFresh.org.
o EatFresh.org features meal plan assistance, opportunities to ask a dietitian a question, budget-friendly recipes, and recipes using what you already have at home, personalizing to your dietary needs.

• ChatGPT
Chat GPT AI is a free website that can be utilized to create healthy meal ideas and grocery lists on your budget

o You can use this feature as a starting point, and customize it based on your dietary needs, including specific meal plans. It is important to note that certain fresh produce and other goods may vary depending on seasonal availability

o Specify your dietary needs. For example, if you are following a low-sodium diet for a health-related condition, you can add in a term to request for foods that are naturally low in sodium. Try using other terms such as diabetes, athlete, plant-based, among others

o Specify your budget. If you are on a budget, the list would require careful planning and prioritizing cost-effective ingredients However, ChatGPT can help you identify foods that are affordable yet nutritious options.
Here is an example of a grocery list created for a one-person household for one week’s worth of groceries with a budget of less than $50:

• Bananas
• Apples
• Oranges
• Carrots
• Cabbage
• Spinach (frozen or fresh, depending on prices)
• Potatoes
• Onions
• Canned diced tomatoes
• Frozen mixed vegetables
• Chicken thighs or drumsticks (budget-friendly cuts)
• Canned tuna or sardines
• Eggs
• Rice (choose the most affordable variety like white rice or brown rice)
• Pasta (look for sales or store-brand options)
• Rolled oats (buy in bulk for cost savings)
• Whole wheat bread (check for discounts or sales)
• Canned beans (such as black beans or chickpeas)
Dairy or Dairy Alternatives:
• Plain yogurt (look for larger containers or store brands for cost savings)
• Milk (dairy or plant-based)
Healthy Fats:
• Cooking oil (vegetable or canola oil)
• Peanut butter or almond butter (store brands can be more budget-friendly)
Other Essentials:
• Spices (garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika)
• Vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)
• Soy sauce
• Low-sodium broth or stock (chicken or vegetable)
• Canned soup (look for sales or discounts)
• Frozen fruit (for budget-friendly smoothies)
• Affordable snacks like popcorn kernels or inexpensive crackers

Remember to check prices, compare options, and consider store brands or generic alternatives to save money. It's also helpful to plan meals in advance and make use of ingredients you already have on hand to minimize waste.