1. Do it Yourself
Chop your own veggies, wash your own lettuce and make your own tomato sauce. Skip preseasoned rice and pasta mixes, which tend to be high in sodium and filled with preservatives, in addition to costing extra. Buy unseasoned grains (like brown rice) and add your own herbs and spices .
2. Skip Fortified Foods
Vitamin drinks, cereals designed for women, and energy bars are all fortified with extra (and often unnecessary) nutrients-and have the price tag to prove it. Whole foods provide all the nutrients you need for a fraction of the cost.
3. Use it, Don't Lose It
"Instead of tossing all those little bits of leftover chicken or meat, save them to use later in the week," says Dudash, who recommends using them for tacos, fajitas or soup.
4. Think Big
Buy economy-size packages of staples like milk, eggs, rice, pasta and cereal. For what you'd pay for 10 individual packets of oatmeal, you could get 25 servings from a container of whole oats.
5. Go Meatless
Vegetarian eats like beans, brown rice, polenta and whole-wheat pasta are loaded with crucial nutrients including fiber and folic acid, yet cost much less than meat, fish or poultry.