Dr. Robert Post, former associate executive director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP):

We constantly hear the claim that you can’t eat healthy on a budget, and to us that’s a myth because a family can eat a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables that meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

It’s necessary to plan ahead, be a smart shopper, and cook most meals at home, but according to the latest Cost of Food at Home data from the USDA a family of four can follow a thrifty food plan for as little as $146 per week. A more liberal food plan, which includes more expensive cuts of meat and seafood, can be budgeted for $289 per week.

I can personally attest to the tremendous cost savings of switching from packaged, pre-cooked, and processed foods to healthier unpackaged, raw, and unprocessed fruits, vegetables, beans, oats, nuts, and grains. It also helps to find a good farmer’s market.

See the 19-year history of the USDA’s Cost of Food at Home data.