It’s not always easy to eat healthy and stick to a budget, but with a few simple tricks you can keep your wallet fat and your waistline trim!
1. EAT IN SEASON
Fruits and vegetables that are in season are abundant and therefore cost less. Besides being cheaper, seasonal produce also tastes better, has higher amounts of nutrients, and a smaller environmental impact compared to imported produce. This is because it is picked at its ripest and only travels a short distance to get to your local grocery store, green grocer or market. Seasonal Food Guide Australia provides information on what produce is at its peak, as well as farmers markets where you can buy the local community fare.
2. GO VEGO
Meatless meals are a great way to save money and a sure-fire way to boost nutrition. Try a spin on a classic, such as spaghetti bolognese, by using lentils instead of mince and serving over wholemeal pasta for a healthy and filling budget friendly meal. Not quite sold on going completely vego? Then move away from protein taking centre stage and approach it as a side dish rather than a main.
3. COOK IN BULK
When you have extra time, make a large batch of soup, and double recipes for stews and casseroles, which often use more economical cuts of meat. These types of meals cook slowly over a low heat, allowing meat to tenderise and the dish to develop a beautifully rich flavour. Freeze extra portions and use on those nights when you simply don’t feel like cooking!
4. KEEP YOUR PANTRY WELL STOCKED
Having a well-stocked pantry allows you to whip up nutritious meals in no time. Think tinned tomatoes (perfect base for your pasta sauce or pizza); oats (make filling porridge for breakfast or a sweet fruit crumble dessert); tinned tuna or salmon (an easy option on a wrap or for tasty fritters at dinner); canned legumes (whip up tasty hummus for a snack or homemade baked beans for a comforting breakfast), and brown rice, quinoa and wholemeal pasta (all three provide low GI carbohydrates, which will keep you satisfied and prevent those post-dinner sugar cravings).
5. MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR FREEZER
Look out for specials on products you like and freeze extra so you have some the next week when they might be more expensive. This is especially useful when buying meat, as it can be the priciest item on your shopping list. You can also extend the shelf life of bread, nuts, and breadcrumbs, meaning less waste and better taste when you need them.
6. BREW YOUR OWN
Takeaway coffee can really add up if you’re buying one or two every day. According to the Gilkatho Cappuccino Price Index (CPI), the average takeaway coffee in Australia costs $3.54. If you’re stopping in at your local café everyday that could add up to $781 over the working year! Save money, time and prevent excess waste by investing in a reusable mug and brewing your own cuppa at home or work. You can also control the amount of sugar and milk added meaning less kilojoules.
7. PLAN AHEAD
We’ve heard this many times, but it works! Before making a grocery list, write down meals you want to make for the week ahead. For example, leftover roast chicken goes beautifully in a salad at lunch or a bowl of soothing chicken noodle soup for supper. By planning ahead you’ll avoid buying unnecessary items at the grocery store or dialing takeaway, saving you both money and kilojoules.
Do you have any tips to eat healthy on a budget?