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8 Tips to Eat Healthy On a Budget During Pregnancy

by Katlyn Joy | May 27, 2013 12:00 AM
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Without planning your food dollars are doomed to slip through your pocket too quickly. You know you need to eat healthy balanced meals but that can seem like a monumental task with rising food costs.

1. Become a coupon clipper.

Get the supermarket flyers and determine what items are good deals for the week. If one store is best for meats, another for produce and yet another for canned or boxed items then go to each armed with a detailed list. Get your Sunday paper and clip coupons for items you know to be on your list and a good deal. For instance, if the store brand will be cheaper than the name brand even with the coupon then skip the clipping. Pay attention to any special deals stores may have such as double coupon days and plan your grocery visits accordingly.

12 Tips to Save Money With Coupons

2. Plan your menus

Once you have your ads and flyers, come up with a menu plan. In the beginning it may be hard enough to plan a week's menu but with time and experience you may find it simple to plan a month's worth at a time. Besides looking at what's on sale and what items you have coupons for, you need to keep in mind what types of food need to make up your daily diet to meet your particular nutritional needs for your pregnancy.

Keep a copy of your menus to make notes on what meals were successes and which were not so much. Go over the menus to make sure you aren't lacking anything like enough vitamin C or whole grains.

3. Consider what foods are in season.

Buying fresh foods in season makes good sense both nutritionally and economically. Foods that are local and in season will cost less, be of better quality and good for the local market to boot. To take best advantage of this, see if there are any food cooperatives where you live or nearby. Some offer a pretty cheap buy-in and then every week you will go to a pick up point and have a bag of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Some co-ops even accept food stamps for even better buying power.

4. Get recipes that will help you use your fresh foods.

Online sources, cookbooks you can check out from the library, and your local WIC office can be excellent sources. This can be helpful if you've been experiencing changes in your tastebuds from hormones. Your old favorites may taste horrible to you now so try some new dishes to see if something works better for you.

5. Double up recipes and save time and money.

Making extra portions can stretch your food dollar and save you energy in cooking. Soups, casseroles, stews and breads are all great items to freeze. You can get some meals frozen to have on hand for after baby's arrival when you really won't want to mess around in the kitchen too.

6. Never shop on an empty stomach.

You'll be prone to impulse buying and that's typically bad news on wallets and on your nutritional intake.

7. Develop a budget and stick with it.

Use a calculator and list at the store and organize your coupons before arriving at the store. Try to make your list follow the layout of the store so you don't have to hunt through and backtrack while shopping.

8. Plan one healthy vegetarian meal a week.

Meat is usually the most expensive part of the food budget and vegetarian meals can be healthy, tasty and cheap. If you discover some especially yummy veggie meals, maybe you can up your veg meals to twice a week.

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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