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How to eat healthily on a budget

Blog post | 23 Feb 2023

Salads are back on the table now that the price of iceberg lettuce has dropped (it rose to $12 a pop in 2022), but the cost of living is still high and rising. This may make eating healthily seem a challenge.

Eating well is essential for your physical and mental health. A healthy plate of food helps to reduce your risk of illnesses and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. It also gives you more energy, helps you to sleep better and improves your concentration and general wellbeing.

Check out these budget-friendly tips to help meet your nutritional needs.

Find alternatives

Frozen vegetables and fruit can contain the same nutrients they had when picked but they're often cheaper than fresh types. This makes them a nutritious and cost-effective choice without the worry of wastage.

Canned beans, pulses and tomatoes are an easy way to bulk up and extend your meals. For example, adding a can of beans to your spaghetti bolognese increases the serving size and adds more nutrients.

Cook smart

Buying bulk produce is usually cheaper than buying smaller units. Cook extra batches of your fave dish and freeze them for future lunches and dinners. Take advantage of vegetable leftovers by adding protein, such as tinned tuna, for lunch the next day.

Cook at home. Avoid takeaway food; it’s usually expensive and may contain oils and saturated fats that aren’t good for your health.

Plan ahead

Plan your meals for the week. Work out how much food you’ll use so you only buy what you need.

Choose a few recipes with common ingredients. This will reduce the number of ingredients that you have to buy, but will still allow you to enjoy different meals. For example, you could bulk buy chicken breast and make a stir-fry one night and chicken tacos the next.

Embrace the imperfect

Supermarkets often have ‘imperfect’ vegetables that are cheaper than others. Don’t let their appearance fool you — they’re as good to eat as the better-looking versions. They’re great for meals such as stir-fries, soups, stews, curries or sauces.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use the Risk Checker to find out.

Eat well

Limit sugary food and drinks such as chocolate bars and fruit drinks, processed food like sausage rolls and chips, and alcohol. Ask yourself if you really need to buy them. Not only will this reduce your grocery bill, but it will help to protect you from obesity and chronic disease.

Adapt your grocery list to what’s in season and on special. Some food can be more expensive if it’s not in season and is imported from another country.

Focus on the 5 food groups that make up a healthy diet:

For more information:

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