Working Within a Budget

IMG_5019.JPGWorking within a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t eat healthfully. In fact, many centers that have implemented Rainbow In My Tummy® report that their food costs have remained flat or have even decreased. There are a number of reasons for this, including strategic meal planning. Both the children and teachers that have implemented the program report that children are eating better and they are wasting less food than before. In a childcare center or in your own household, there are a number of ways that you can eat smart and save money.

Menu planning is key to saving money on your grocery budget. When you plan a menu, you can enter the store with a specific grocery list to avoid those extra items from falling into your cart. Take a look at a Sample Menu.

Go Meatless one or two days a week. Use alternative proteins such as beans or eggs for your main dish. Both beans and eggs are packed with protein and are much cheaper than meat. Try black beans and rice, egg salad or bean based stews. Our White Bean and Spinach Stew recipe is hearty, delicious and easy on your wallet.

broccoli editedBuy bulk items that have a long shelf life such as sugar, flour, rice and dried or canned beans. You can even buy larger family sized packs of meat and freeze individual portions. Having these staples on hand will make it easier to put together a meal instead of ordering take out.

Shop In Season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often slightly more expensive than their canned counterparts, but shopping seasonally can reduce these costs. With a quick online search, you can find charts to identify fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area. If they are on sale, pick up a few extra pieces that aren’t ripe and store them for later use. Visit the USDA’s website for a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables.