Health: Stretch Your Grocery Dollars Health Stretch Your Grocery Dollars

BY SALLY SQUIRES - WASHINGTON POST HEALTH AND NUTRITION WRITER  |  Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Here's what $120--the maximum weekly USDA food stamp benefit for a family of four--could buy. These foods were bought from Giant Foods at Van Ness Street NW in Washington using a Giant discount card, available free to any customer who applies. For more information about the USDA food stamp program, visit www.fns.usday.gov/fsp. (Read How Far Can Your Dollar Stretch?)
Breakfast: $25.83

BREAKFAST  |  Steel cut oatmeal was a splurge, but it provides more complex carbohydrates than instant oats.

  • Calcium-fortified orange juice, 2 quarts for $6 on sale with discount card. Good source of vitamin C. U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend eating two cups of fruit per day.
  • Milk, nonfat, $3.89 per gallon. Latest dietary guidelines call for drinking three cups per day.
  • Yogurt, nonfat, store brand. $2.79 per quart. Could be used either in cooking, in dips or mixed with fruit for a snack or breakfast.
  • Bread, $2.39 per loaf. Whole grain with extra fiber. Use for breakfast toast or sandwiches.
  • Large Eggs, $1.89 per dozen. Inexpensive source of protein.
  • Margarine, $1.99 per tub. The store-brand margarine is less than half the cost of better known brands but is nutritionally similar.
  • Raisins, $2.49 per box, 50 cents less per pound than re-sealable containers.
  • Oatmeal, steel cut, $4.39. Make a batch ahead of time and freeze in individual portions to save time.
Lunch/Snack: $32.30

LUNCH/SNACK  |  A few basic ingredients can produce soups and sandwiches. And watermelon and bananas are good for taking the edge off hunger between meals.

  • Peanut butter, $6.39, excellent, inexpensive source of protein and healthy fat. This large jar contains 72 servings.
  • Bread, $2.39, whole grain with added fiber.
  • Jelly, $2.79 contains fruit plus added sugar
  • Cheese slices, $4 on sale.
  • Whole wheat tortillas, $1.59 per package of 10. Make a bean burrito for about $0.20 less than half the cost of one at a fast food restaurant.
  • Romaine Lettuce, $2.99 a package. Romaine has more flavor than Iceberg and stays fresher longer than many other varieties. Could also be used for wraps with the tortillas or for salads.
  • Salsa, $2.79, a large, store brand jar for quick flavor. One of the few conveniece foods purchased.
  • Dried navy beans, $0.69
  • Dried split peas, $0.55
  • Dried pinto beans, $0.75
  • Watermelon, $5.99
  • Bananas, $1.38
Dinner: $54.11

DINNER  |  For items that are both affordable and nutritious, frozen vegetables and beans take center stage.

  • Chicken leg quarters, $5.64
  • Potatoes, $3.99
  • Olive oil, $7.59
  • Apple cider vinegar, $1.49
  • Whole wheat flour, $2.39
  • Ground turkey, $3.99
  • Spaghetti, $2.69
  • Eggs, $1.89
  • Shredded cheese, $3.99
  • Tofu, $1.99
  • Soy sauce, $2.69
  • Canned salmon, 2 for $1.69 each
  • Tomato sauce, $1.56
  • Brown Rice, $1.50 for a package
  • Frozen broccoli, $2.09
  • Frozen broccoli and cauliflower, 2 for $1 each
  • Frozen broccoli florets, $1
  • Frozen onions, $1
  • Frozen carrots, $0.89
  • Frozen spinach, $1
  • Frozen okra, $1
  • Frozen mixed veggies, $1
  • Frozen peas and carrots, $1
  • Frozen petite peas, $1
  • Frozen petite peas with onions, $1
  • Frozen sugar snap peas, $1
  • Frozen green beans 2 for $1 each
  • Frozen stewed veggies, $1
  • Dried black beans, $0.79
  • Dried split peas, $0.55*
  • Dried navy beans, $0.69*
  • Dried yellow split peas, $0.54
  • Dried red kidney beans, $0.89
  • Dried pink beans, $0.69

* NOTE: Included in lunch/snack total
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