Can you eat well on $4 a day? This author says so. Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

If you’ve got a tight budget, shopping for food can be tough. Whether it’s being able to buy nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, or simply being able to buy enough food to feed your family, the grocery store might seem daunting.

But cookbook author Leanne Brown has some suggestions for those on a crunched budget, and compiled those suggestions into her book, “Good and Cheap: How to Eat Well on $4/Day.”

Credit: Courtesy of Workman Publishing

She wrote the cookbook with Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program users in mind, who receive ― as a rule of thumb ― $4 per day per person for food.

The book features 180 pages of recipes, as well as shopping and food preparation tips for those looking to stretch their budgets and their pantry. Here are some of Brown’s tips for “eating and shopping well.”

  1. Buy versatile foods: Purchasing foods that can be used in a variety of meals such as flour, garlic, and canned tomatoes allow you to always have the staples for various meals on hand.
  2. Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk might not always be a possibility when your budget is particularly tight, but buying in bulk when you can will reduce the price per unit of the food item. Also, when buying in bulk make sure you will consume to before it goes bad. Brown suggests buying versatile food items in bulk so they can be used quickly in different meals.
  3. Build a pantry slowly: Reserving part of your food budget to buy one or two pantry items per week or month will help you build a pantry at a reasonable rate. These items include things like olive oil and spices, which can be pricey at first but will last a while if used in moderation.
  4. Buy in accordance with the seasons: When buying produce, buy fruits and vegetables that are in season locally which generally drives the price down and offers better taste.
  5. Drinks are not essential: Aside from milk and water, Brown said the body doesn’t require any other drinks in terms of nutrition. So buying prepackaged drinks is unnecessary.
  6. Don’t toss wilted vegetables: While vegetables may have wilted to the point where they might not be desirable in a salad, as long as they haven’t gone bad, wilted vegetables will roast and saute well.
  7. Your freezer is your best friend: By making large batches of food and freezing them in freezer bags or containers, you will always have prepared nutritious meal on hand.

Brown’s cookbook is available for purchase where books are sold. It’s also available as a free PDF on her website.

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