Healthy Eating on a Budget
Have you ever been disappointed at the supermarket when you have picked the healthiest options only to be shocked when you see the $$ on the receipt?
Healthy eating can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
As a dietitian, I see many people getting stuck in the trap of fancy marketing, diet fads and product labelling that can make them think they need certain products to be healthy. Have a read through my tips and meal suggestions below to help you pick healthy choices whilst still being able to afford life’s other necessities!
What to Think About at the Supermarket
Plate contents = Trolley contents
A good aim for meals is to have half of your plate filled with veggies, a quarter with a protein source and a quarter wholegrains. Then, having fruit and dairy added in for snacks throughout the day. When you head to the supermarket, aim for your trolley to have similar ratios with just a little room left for treats.
Specials and seasonal produce
Buying fruit and veggies when they are in season or on special can save you a lot in the long run. Often you can save on meat products when on special too. If the meat is close to it’s best before or use by date, cut it up, freeze it before this day comes and use portions as you need it. Just make sure that what you defrost, you eat the same day.
The important compromise
Protein is an important building block for almost every component of our bodies, hence why it is important to have in our diet. Protein foods are likely to be the most costly items on your shopping list: think lean steak or mince, chicken and fresh fish. However, there are other high-protein foods to look for that can sometimes be a bit cheaper including eggs, canned fish, legumes, lentils and tofu. What’s the aim? To get a variety of these different protein sources to reduce the overall cost. Having some meat-free meals in your week can also reduce grocery costs.
The pre-made catch
Pre-made salads, slices and the like can be quick and easy but are often expensive for what you get. They can also be quite high in calories with additions such as coconut oil or lots of creamy dressing. Getting pre-made meals are great for busy days or special occasions but try to focus on homemade dishes to save your wallet and waistline.
Don’t be afraid of frozen
Frozen veggies and fruits actually offer similar nutritional value to fresh equivalents and often they can be cheaper. Another bonus is they are already cut up! Just remember to recycle the packaging if possible 🙂
Stock up on pantry staples
Buying a nice variety of spices, herbs and bulk brown rice/pasta is a must to keep home cooked meals interesting and varied while staying healthy. The initial cost of these might make your shop more expensive but they are not something you buy every week!
Some Meal Suggestions for Healthy Meals at Home (Without Sacrificing Taste or Your Wallet)
- Rolled oats with milk or yoghurt and frozen berries
- Wholegrain toast with natural peanut butter
- Salad made with seasonal veggies and canned legumes or canned fish
- Sandwich made with wholegrain bread, salad veggies and yoghurt-based dressing
- Leftovers from the night before
- Chicken and vegetable stirfry
- Vegetable curries made with your favourite spices and toasted pita bread
- Roast veggie mix with rice or veggie soup
- Vegetable frittata with salad
- Mince and veggie burgers with salad
- Veggie sticks with hummus or tzatziki
- Natural yoghurt with seasonal fruit
- Piece of whole fruit
- Wholegrain crackers or rice thins with dip and veggie toppings
Accredited Practising Dietitian
To book an appointment with Isabelle or one of the Dietitians at Your Health Hub, phone reception on 6122 0150.