Last updated: August 20. 2013 7:50PM - 868 Views
Lethia Lee EFNEP Program Assistant

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These days, it seems that everyone is on a budget. Even if you are not, chances are that you would like to learn how it works. There are many simple things you can do to cut your family’s cost and to create some room for spending on other things.

When it comes to groceries, which accounts for a large portion of your budget, follow these simple tips and see how quickly you can begin to save money and eat healthy at the same time.

You should always shop with a list to cut down on impulse buying. It is true never go shopping when you are hungry, because everything in the store looks good and you will buy items you did not plan to buy. You can decrease your spending and limit impulse buying by shopping with a list. Buy staples, beans, pasta, and oats because they are really inexpensive and filling. Canned fish or frozen vegetables don’t go bad before you can use them. Beans and peanut butter are always a good choice. Eat breakfast - that is the most important meal of the day and the most common one to skip and it’s also typically the fastest and the cheapest to make. Try oatmeal, toast, eggs, pancakes, fruit and low-fat milk. Eating breakfast helps change your brain and body. That is the reason it is so important that children eat in the morning.

Always plan ahead. When you are hungry and rushed, it is hard to think of a budget for food. Make a slow-cooker recipe that will last for more than one meal. Divide the food into separate containers to make it easier to reheat or keep the ingredients for an inexpensive meal on a shelf so you don’t have to think what to make when you are tired. A nutritious meal includes something from each food group: grain, meat, fruit, vegetables and milk. Be sure to watch what you drink. Too much sugar in soft drinks or putting too much sugar in tea, cool aid, or lemonade will cause many problems down the road. Always choose water as it is our most essential nutrient.

Here’s a refreshing fruity drink to enjoy on a hot day. Hope you enjoy.

Tropical Smoothie

1 cup orange juice

2 cups pineapple chunks (fresh or canned, if canned drain juice)

1 large banana, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup fat-free milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup crushed ice

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 4 servings, each serving has 140 calories, no fat, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 60 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Source: Julie Garden- Robinson, food and Nutrition Specialist.

For more information contact Lethia Lee, EFNEP Assistant with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.

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