Many people say that it is not possible to eat healthy when money is tight. That is a big reason why so many individuals or families regularly turn to fast food options. However, this does not have to be the case. With some planning, you can actually make healthy selections whilst sticking to your budget!
Tip one: Planning
- Plan your meals for the week ahead
This way you know exactly what you need and you can plan for cost effective dishes. You will get quicker at this once you become familiar with a few recipes you like.
- Create a shopping list
Making a shopping list before you do your groceries will prevent the purchase of unnecessary items. This will prevent waste or spontaneous purchases that you did not need to spend money on.
Whilst making your list, it is also useful if you can go through a shopping catalogue to source out the products on special.
Tip two: Fresh produce
Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season. This can make a big difference to their price!
Check if frozen or canned vegetables are cheaper. Often they can be and they also last a lot longer which can prevent spoiling and hence wastage! Plus they are very convenient.
Tip three: Bulk up your meals
Meat can be pricey, especially the lean kind. Lentils are also a great source of protein so try having one meat free meal a week and use lentils instead. You can also mix mince and lentils 50/50 which will decrease the quantity of mince you need, decrease price and increase the variety of nutrients you are receiving. Adding more vegetables to a meal can also make it go further and it will help to reach your 5 serves of veg! This will also make the dish lower in kilojoules.
Tip four: Do not pay for the brand name/packaging
Choose no name brands or home brands. This can also save a lot of money and most of the time you are paying extra for the packaging.
Tip five: Buy in bulk
Buy non-perishable items in bulk e.g. rice or pasta. You often save money as you buy larger quantities of an item.
Tip six: Do not shop hungry
Do not shop on an empty stomach. This will increase your likelihood of picking up items you don’t need. Often they are the products that are more expensive, too or that are unhealthy e.g. chips, chocolate.
Tip seven: Pay attention to sneaky advertising
Sometimes shopping centres tag a product as ‘special’. Take a closer look – this doesn’t always mean the price has been reduced! Consumers generally associate the word ‘special’ with sales.
Tip eight: Make the most of leftovers
Use leftovers for lunch or freeze them for future meals. Left over vegetable scraps can be used to make soups or stock.
Tip nine: Drink water
Drink water instead of juice, cordial, soft drinks, energy drinks, coconut water etc. Water is free and it is the best fluid for your body!
Tip ten: Limit discretionary food
Limit foods that are nutrient poor and energy dense. Items like chocolate, ice cream, chips, pastries and lollies are overpriced and are not an essential part of a diet. Be careful, these are often the products that regularly have deals and special stands dedicated to them. Save your money for nutrient rich options!
Tip eleven: Compare unit prices
This is generally shown on the products shelf tag (where the price is located). It will tell you the price per unit, for example, per 100g. This way you can compare the price between different brands or different quantities to see if you save more.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about exercise and nutrition or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.