WANT EVEN MORE HEALTHY IDEAS FROM SHAPE YOUR FUTURE?
It’s no secret: Feeding a family costs a lot — and even though SNAP benefits can be a lifesaver, they usually can’t cover everything. Not without a little creativity, at least! That’s where we come in. Here’s how to get the (healthiest) bang for your buck.
Before You Go Grocery Shopping
- Scan your schedule — and make a plan.
- Make a SNAP-friendly shopping list — and stick to it
- Buy oats, whole-grain pasta/breads and brown rice in bulk.
- TIP: Browse the bakery for discounted, day-old (whole grain) breads. They haven’t actually expired yet, so they shouldn’t be stale … but they will be cheaper!
FRUITS & VEGGIES
- Buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables that are low in sodium and/or sugar.
- TIP: Want to keep it fresh? Double your SNAP dollars at the farmers market!
- Buy low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese in the largest size you’ll be able to use before it expires.
- TIP: Freeze your shredded cheese!
MEAT & BEANS
- If you can afford to, buy chicken and ground turkey in bulk — then, freeze it!
- Find dried or canned beans that are low in sodium.
- Choose canned tuna that’s packed in water.
- TIP: Light tuna is typically lowest in mercury.
- Hunt for coupons — but only for healthy items you already plan to buy.
Coupons are a huge help … but they can also be a huge trap! They work best when you plan your meals and snacks first, then look for any coupons that apply.
- Eat a well-balanced meal or snack before you go.
Another trap? Shopping hungry! Fueling your body with healthy food first can keep your blood sugar in check — and impulse buys at bay.
Tips for Your Trip
- Sign up for the store’s rewards program.
Many supermarkets offer discounts for frequent shoppers — and the savings can really add up.
- Compare cost per ounce.
The store’s “off” brand is often cheapest — and if you can afford it, buy in bulk.
- Investigate dates.
Sometimes, stores will discount items that are approaching their “sell by” or “use by” dates. This is a great way to save money if you know you can use the item quickly … but be realistic!
- “Sell By” Date
- It’s typically safe to use poultry 1 – 2 days past the “sell by” date, beef for 3 – 5 days and eggs for 3 – 5 weeks … but rely on your sense of smell and our other food safety tips.
- “Use By” Date vs. “Best if Used By” Date
- The “use by” date is the last day the manufacturer recommends consuming the food due to safety. “Best if used by” is about quality.
Try This at Home
- Get organized.
- Refrigerate fresh foods immediately — and keep the items that expire first front and center.
- Freeze or store bulk items you won’t use right away.
- TIP: You can freeze bread and tortillas!
- Get cooking!
Try these healthy, SNAP-friendly meal and snack recipes from Shape Your Future:
Staying within your SNAP budget isn’t always easy, but it’s well within reach! Browse more of our healthy, budget-friendly tips and recipes.