With the ingredients listed here on hand all of the time, you will be able to make several complete meals without having to run to the store. Store these foods safely and abide by use-by dates. And use your imagination when considering how to combine these ingredients.
In the Fridge
Milk is a very inexpensive source of protein. If you'd like to save more money, you can make milk from dried milk powder and water, then combine it with fresh milk and chill thoroughly before serving.
Cheese provides a good source of protein and calcium and can be inexpensive depending on how you prepare it. When shredding cheese you're introducing more surface area for your taste buds to react to, so shredded cheese offers more flavor per ounce than sliced cheese.
Eggs are also a cheap source of protein. Recent research has shown that most people can eat one egg per day without fear of increasing their cholesterol level. To stretch eggs even more, scramble them with some milk or sour cream!
Many people are eating lower fat products for their health. Consider that some low-fat products have a different taste than the regular varieties. Low-fat cheeses, especially, have less flavor than regular cheeses, so your family may use more of them to compensate. Figure that into the cost when buying these items.
In the Pantry
Pasta and rice are staples around the world. If you have been avoiding those foods because of a low-carb diet, try whole-grain versions. Those varieties are a bit more expensive, but they are so much cheaper than serving a big chunk of meat for dinner.
Canned fruits and vegetables can make an inexpensive quick meal with little work. Combine some diced tomatoes with minced green chiles and toss with couscous or pasta, then top with pregrated canned Parmesan cheese and you can serve a healthy dinner in minutes.
In the Freezer
Making your own meals and freezing them is one of the best ways to save money and feed your family well. You don't have to cook large amounts. Just double one or two meals a week and freeze the second batch. Before you know it you'll have several meals ready and waiting for you; it's better than takeout!
When you find a good buy on expensive meats or seafood, purchase extra, then carefully wrap, label, and freeze. Be sure to freeze only those foods that handle the freezing process without losing quality.
Now that you understand the basics of shopping, unit pricing, list making, cooking, and storing food, here are the recipes that will feed your family well for less money. The price per serving has been kept to $2.00 or less; in many cases, it is below $1.00. Your savings may be greater if you can apply coupons, sale prices, or other bargains. You can also add splurges, by adding more meat per serving, including more expensive or value-added ingredients, or by increasing the serving size. Remember to enjoy your food, eating with family, and the process of cooking and baking.