With the price of groceries being what it is at the moment, especially for fresh produce, budget eating is becoming a more and more important topic. What are some tasty options you can choose to ensure you’re staying within your budget while also ticking nutrition goals? Let me show you how to eat healthy on a budget.
Choose in-season fruit and vegetables
Prices often go up and down according to seasonal availability and environmental factors. Choose what is on special or in season in the produce aisle. These foods are usually cheaper, and fresher too!
Eat at home
This is a great cost saver when considering how to eat healthy on a budget. And while you’re at it, cook in bulk and freeze extra portions. This often costs less per meal, and is a good time saver too. Soups, casseroles and pasta sauces all freeze really well. They’re also all great winter warmers given how cold it is in Australia currently.
Buy generic brands, and buy them in bulk
Often, these are identical to the more expensive name-branded versions, but at less of a cost. It is also cheaper to buy non-perishables in bulk. Think breakfast cereals, barley, quinoa, rice and pasta.
Make the most of frozen and canned options
These don’t go off in any kind of rush and can thus be used whenever you need them. And don’t think you have to limit yourself to baked beans or chickpeas. Fish is often thought of as pricey, but canned options can come in at as little as 90 cents per can! Choose options that are in spring water and olive oil as these are the healthiest. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious (if not more so!) than their fresh counterparts because they have been snap frozen, and are considerably lower cost than their fresh counterparts. Keeping your freezer stocked is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on this important part of every meal.
Check supermarket catalogues and use what’s on special to plan your meals. Make a list before you go, or do your shopping online, to avoid throwing extra items into your trolley, and then spent at the supermarket.
Choose more plant-based products
Meat is expensive, and there are no two ways about it. Dropping your meat consumption and replacing it with lower-cost plant-based options can be a huge money saver. In particular, canned or dried legumes make a good choice as they are rich in plant protein and iron. When you consider that a single can costs approximately $1, the drop in your grocery bill will be huge.
Avoid shopping when you’re hungry
Why? Shopping when you’re hungry is a great way to come home with all those extras we talked about earlier, with your grocery bill blown out completely.
Fresh isn’t necessarily more expensive
- Bananas are approximately $3/kg, whereas that slice of banana bread comes in at $12/kg.
- 150 g of potatoes is 60 cents, whereas the same amount of potato crisps is $2.90
- 30 g of rolled oats is only 30 cents! The quantity of a breakfast bar is 60 cents.
- 100 g fresh chicken is 40 cents, while 100 g of BBQ chicken is 55 cents and 100 g premade kebabs is $1.40.
- 100 g apples is 60 cents and 100 g sultanas is $1.25. Compare that to a fruit bar which is $1.90/100 g and a 100 g chocolate bar is $4.30.
Buy what you need
Finally, buy your basics first. Your list should include items like bread, milk, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. Once you have these covered, you can consider extra foods, and whether you have the budget for them or not.