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Family and Consumer Sciences

Ohio State University Extension


Healthy Food for Less than $2 per Meal

March 18, 2020

Stocking Up for When You’re Stuck at Home – Healthy Food for Less than $2/meal

Americans have been asked to stay home from work, school, and other gathering places for an indefinite period during the current pandemic. Many have stocked up on items they want to have on hand. One photographer documented shoppers’ selections over the past weekend, capturing carts full of chips, soda, ramen noodles, frozen entrees, and disinfectant spray. Shoppers told him the items weren’t much different from what they usually buy, while also admitting they were indeed feeling a bit nervous.

I returned home last Friday evening after being away for over a week. A national state of emergency had been declared and local school districts just announced they would be closed for at least 3 weeks.  Shoppers had already rushed to grocery stores and my refrigerator was nearly empty.

My “normal” approach to grocery shopping is to plan all the items I will purchase in advance and use a simple spreadsheet to estimate the total cost. Since January 2018, my grocery budget has been a strict $1.50 per meal per person, and my meals at home have followed MyPlate guidelines. However, when I saw the bare bread and produce shelves, I knew my planned grocery list would be of little good. <Read more...>