Many people think that it is next to impossible to eat healthy on food stamps. It often seems like buying convenience meals is cheaper. These convenience foods are full of sodium, preservatives, and a lot of stuff that isn't healthy. There are ways you can fit healthy food into your SNAP budget. Here are some tips for eating healthier on a limited budget.
How to Eat Healthy on Food Stamps
Visit the website or call your local organization that is in charge of your area's farmer's markets and co-ops. In many communities, you can use SNAP at these locations. If you are lucky, you may even get bonus money just for using your SNAP card there! Farmer's Markets and Co-ops offer many seasonal and local fresh food from meat to veggies and even dairy. They are often cheaper than the supermarket and since they are local, they are fresher. Some are even organic or naturally grown.
Learn what you can buy on SNAP. Many people do not know they can buy foods from the bulk bins at the local store. It doesn't have to be pre-packaged in order for it to be an available purchase. You can save a lot of money by making bulk food purchases from these bins.
Knowing how to cook from scratch is the key. Cooking from scratch will often cost you less than half of what it does to buy the same foods already made. For instance, you can bake bread at home for 1/4 of the price of a cheap loaf of bread at the store. Cooking from scratch is an excellent skill for anyone to have and many times, they offer classes to those that get SNAP for free. Just ask your local office of public assistance. You may even have a program where someone comes to your home to help instruct you!
Don't buy soda. I know this is a really hard one for most people to give up, but it really is an expensive habit. If you just don't like plain water, get some lemons and place them in your water. Alternatively, you can infuse water with fruit flavors or make unsweetened iced tea for pennies. Both of these options are healthier and less costly.
Make sure to shop seasonally for fruits and veggies. We have gotten so used to eating any food that is available, we forget that fresh foods like produce have a season. You will save more money in the long run if you try to shop in season as it will be at the lowest price of the year and allow you to enjoy all the foods you like for this price.
Use coupons. Many people think coupons are only for fat, sugar and preservative filled convenience foods. This is not true. You can find coupons for fresh meat, frozen vegetables, milk, and even fresh fruit. Just be sure to always be on the lookout for them and even write companies asking for coupons.
Combine WIC with SNAP. You will find you can get many healthy foods for free with WIC, leaving more money in your SNAP budget for other healthy foods.
Looking for more ways to save money on your tight budget? Check out the links below!