top of page
  • Day Arnold, BSND

Navigating Nutritious Choices on a Holiday Budget

During the holiday season, we often find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of festivities, joy, and a stretched grocery budget. Between the fall and winter holidays, a desire to create memorable meals and enjoy special treats can put pressure on our wallets. But fear not, because you can make nutritious choices without breaking the bank. Let's explore some practical tips to help you navigate this holiday season while keeping your budget in check!

1. Plan Your Meals and Snacks

Before heading to the grocery store, try to make time to plan your holiday meals and snacks. Take inventory of what you already have and make a list of the ingredients you need. Planning ahead can help you avoid impulse purchases, minimize food waste, and ensure you have everything you need for your holiday recipes.

2. Don't Forget Seasonal Produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher and tastier but also more affordable, all while supporting your local farmers! During this time of year, look for affordable options like sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks, and cranberries. Pro tip: The Rockland Farmer's Market will continue through December, every Thursday from 9am-12 pm, at the Flanagan Community Center!

3. Opt for Whole Foods

When planning your holiday menu, prioritize whole foods. While whole foods may require a little extra preparation, that extra effort saves you money, avoids unnecessary additives and preservatives, and reduces plastic waste. Alongside whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and legumes are also more cost-effective and nutritious. Consider dishes like brown rice, roasted poultry, and homemade bean soups or chili to fill your table with wholesome options.

4. Buy in Bulk

Purchasing staples like oats, rice, barley, pasta, beans, lentils, and canned tomatoes in bulk can save you money in the long run. These items have a long shelf life and can be used in various recipes throughout the season, and even throughout the year. Did I mention bulk buying is better for the planet too? Most food practices that our bodies and wallets prefer, like favoring the bulk section and prioritizing whole, seasonal foods, are also preferred by our planet! (Bonus points if you bring in your own, reusable mesh bags and containers instead of using the roll of plastic bags at the store.)

5. Cook in Bigger Batches

Cooking larger portions of your favorite dishes allows you to enjoy leftovers for several days. This reduces the need for frequent grocery trips and saves both time and money. Always be sure to check proper storage practices for different foods, and consider labeling leftovers with your own 'Best By:' dates using painter's tape to keep food safety first.

6. DIY Snacks and Treats

Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks and sweets, consider making your own. Homemade granola bars, oat bites, roasted nuts, and festive fruit or vegetable platters can be affordable and better-for-you alternatives to store-bought options, sometimes with less effort than you'd expect. It is also a great time to get young ones involved in the kitchen and learn new recipes together!

7. Focus on Balance

Strive for a balanced plate during the holiday season. While indulging in occasional treats is part of the fun, still make sure to incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your meals to maintain good nutrition. Especially remember to get enough fiber, and choose whole grains whenever possible, so you can more easily digest those sweets and treats later.

8. Compare Prices and Look for Deals

Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and coupons when shopping. Use sale flyers to help plan meals and snacks. Compare prices between brands and accessible stores to get the best value for your money. Consider starting a staple food stockpile budget, so that if you find yourself buying an item often, you can stock up when there is a sale and save more money overall.

9. Share the Cooking Duties

Consider hosting potluck-style gatherings where everyone contributes a dish. This not only reduces the burden on your food budget, but also adds variety to your holiday spread, and creates an opportunity to explore foods you wouldn't ordinarily make for yourself!

10. Don't Forget About Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential for overall well-being. Opt for filtered tap water over bottled water to save money and reduce plastic waste. You can also infuse water with citrus slices or fresh herbs like rosemary or mint for a festive touch.

With these budget-friendly tips, you can savor delicious, wholesome meals without the stress of overspending. Remember, the holiday season is about more than just food, gifts, and time off—it's a time to cherish moments with loved ones, and wear cozy pajamas. Stay warm, happy holidays, and happy eating!

Consider getting in touch for a free, local SNAP-Ed class for more support and guidance in making nutritious choices during this festive time, or request to host a free series for your organization, here!

71 views0 comments


Mobile Phone


Share our newsletters to educate your network on specific topics!

Knowledge can empower and make us more resilient. Some groups that share our newsletters and articles include local schools, other community organizations, law enforcement, religious organizations, and more.

Let's keep spreading knowledge and making a positive impact together.

Stay up to date on all new posts!

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page