Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Shopping List on a Tight Budget!

It all starts with shopping! See the choices below for ideas of things to put in your cart. And some ideas of how to find what you want and save.


  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Frozen un-breaded fish fillets
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Dried beans or canned beans
  • Ground lean beef or lean turkey


  • Potatoes
  • Fresh or frozen veggies

    • green beans
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • squash
    • zucchini
  • Plain brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta or hybrid
  • Pasta sauce
  • Salad greens


  • In-season fruits
  • Frozen fruit – no added sugar
  • Plain or vanilla light yogurt – 2% milk fat
  • Cheese cubes

    • Get a large block and cut at home.
  • Fresh carrots

    • Cut into sticks at home.
  • Canned fruit in own juice, NOT syrup


  • Plain oatmeal -add fresh fruit or jelly
  • Eggs
  • Whole wheat pancake/waffle mix
  • Wheat cereal – no added sugar


  • Whole wheat bread
  • Low fat or skim milk
  • Light margarine with zero trans-fats
  • Store-brand canola and/or olive oils

Compare and Save!

Food Items Compare the Costs

Frozen store brand chickern beast

Brand name chicken breasts    


$3.69 for 6 pieces

$5.49 for 3 pieces


Dried beans                                              

Ground beef      


$.79 for 1 pound of dried or $.50 for 1 can

$3.89 for 1 pound


Frozen broccoli  

Fresh broccoli    


$1.75/ for 3-4 servings

$3.49/ for 3 servings


Plain Brown Rice    

Pre-Packaged Rice Mix w/Sauce 


$2.19/ for 19 servings

$1.50/ for 1 ½ servings


Frozen Fruit, such as berries

Potato Chips


$2.89/ for 4 servings

$3.89/ for 1 bag


Light store brand vanilla yogurt

Ice cream  


$1.59/ for 3 ½ servings

$5.29/ for 16 half-cup servings


Plain oatmeal  

Pre-packaged oatmeal


$2.50/ for 30 servings

$3.79/ for 10 packages


Store brand wheat cereal  

Specialty “kids” cereal


$2.69 for 1 box

$5.99 for 1 box



























This guide was originally developed for hard copy distribution by pediatric experts at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital & colleagues in the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association with a grant from the Ohio Department of Health.

This children’s health content is brought to you with support from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

For more information:

Go to the Kids’ Healthy Weight health topic.