MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Eating healthy for less than $17 a day

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Could you feed a family of four for less than 17 dollars a day? One Henrico woman has made it her mission to do just that while keeping the meals healthy and nutritious. She shows our Diva of Discounts how it works.

Feeding a family can get expensive. Leigh Ann Luscan shops for four: herself, her tri-athlete husband Dave plus two children, Simon and Rowan.

As she gets back into holistic health counseling, the most common challenge she hears from people is finding time and money.

"The average food assistance monthly budget per person is $128. For a family of four, that means $512," Leigh Ann said.

So the Luscans created the 512 Project. They will spend no more than that for everything they eat for a month.

Before, Dave frequently bought breakfast and lunch. How much on average did they spend a day? "10 to 15 dollars," Dave says. Now he takes leftovers.

"That's really made a huge difference," added Leigh Ann.

Leigh Ann relies on staples that save money: dry rice, beans and lentils.

"Onions and garlic and carrots and celery...they're the base for anything we do," she explained.

Dave says this vegetable fried rice cost, "$7 for dinner and probably two lunches tomorrow." No more tossing food. It gets used before it expires.

"Now we make soup, the pot is frequently going on the stove," Leigh Ann said.

Leigh Ann likes organic, but has realized not everything has to be.

"It costs $5 for a head of organic cauliflower and probably two for a head of conventionally-grown," she said.

She buys less expensive proteins like chicken thighs instead of breasts, plus less processed meat.

"Dave helped me roast my first whole chicken and we had leftovers and made chicken stock," she showed us.

Leigh Ann compares store sales and plans her shopping trips, plus she does it all without using coupons.

"We're saving so much money...these habits will continue indefinitely," said Leigh Ann.

Leigh Ann is sharing her venture on facebook with different ideas to help you eat healthy on a budget. If you want to see how she does it, click here.

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