GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- From eggs and milk, to vegetables and meat, feeding a family doesn't always come cheap. A new study by the United State Department of Agriculture finds eating nutritious meals on a budget can be difficult.
Chances are, you make at least one stop at the grocery store each week to fill the fridge and cabinets in your kitchen. A new study says that stop could cost you up to $290, and that doesn't include your fast-food stops or dinners on the town.
For Dionne Guddat’s family of six, it’s easy to see how a grocery bill can add up.
"[We go to the grocery store] once a week for the main stuff, and then usually a couple of times during the week, too," she said. "It's unfortunate that it costs so much to feed your family, but that's just the way it is, I guess."
A weekly grocery bill for Guddat's family runs about $300, but numbers from the USDA show feeding a family of four every week isn't far off. That study found feeding four a healthy diet can run between $146 dollars a week on the low end, to $289 on the high end.
Financial advisor Mike Berry says pre-planning your meals and sticking to a list while shopping can help trim the costs.
"You know, you're buying steak when maybe you can only afford hamburger and the bill gets out of control,” he said. "A lot of times there's a lot of impulse buying at the store, they're set up to encourage impulse buying.”
"A little pre-planning allows you to maybe utilize coupons which can also save you some money."
Helping budget conscious families is one goal of ''Cooking Matters,'' a Mesa County program that helps low-income families make healthier choices.
"Filling half of our plate with fruits and vegetables, it can be fresh, frozen and canned," Mesa County health promotions specialist Maran Parry said of choosing healthy options.
The program emphasizes cooking nutritiously on a budget, and encourages shoppers to stick to the perimeter rather than the grocery store aisles.
"[Stick to] cooking meals from scratch, buying whole foods rather than those processed foods so we can actually make our food dollar stretch,” Parry said.
There's no question grocery store prices have increased over the years, and though it can be more costly, the nutritional value is worth it for some.
"We’re not completely out in left field, because I feel like we spend so much,” Guddat said. "We feel like it's worth the extra money to put that first."
The study accounted for home meals and snacks for two adults and two school-aged children.
The average grocery bill is up slightly from last year's findings.
For a link to low-budget cooking recipes, click on the link below.