How to sustain a healthy diet on a budget

By Kamyra La Fauci – Accredited Practising Dietitian

Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to break the bank!  Here are 5 top tips that can help to slash the cost your weekly grocery bill and keep you on track with healthy eating on a budget: 

1) Be supermarket savvy  

Before planning your weekly meals and snacks, jump online or check out catalogues to identify the latest specials on food products. If you have time or have access to multiple grocers close to home, it can be worthwhile to shop around and compare prices across different brands.  

2) Plan your meals and write a shopping list! 

If keeping to a tight budget is your priority, set aside time to plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead. When planning your week, consider meals you can cook in bulk, or snacks options that are a lower cost if bought in bulk, for example 1kg apples for $3.99 to reduce the cost of your grocery bill.  

Then, make a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need to purchase before heading to the shops.  When writing your shopping list, be sure to check your fridge, freezer and pantry to avoid doubling up on products you may already have and to reduce food wastage.  

By using a shopping list, you are less likely to purchase additional food you don’t need for the week that can blow out your budget. Whilst both strategies are simple, they are very effective in slashing your weekly grocery bill. 

3) Try meat alternatives  

More often than not, a large cost of the total grocery bill can be from meat, poultry and seafood products, especially if they feature in most lunch and dinner meals. For your next shop, try using meat alternatives such as legumes, eggs, tofu or meat alternatives like veggie patties as the protein source for 2-3 meals of the week.  This not only has benefits for your budget, but for your health and the environment too!  

Example recipes: lentil bolognese, veggie frittata with salad, tofu stir-fry 

4) Cook more at home  

Generally, purchasing a meal at a restaurant or ordering takeout will cost at least $20 per person, which could equate to 4 home cooked meals instead! If you’re on a tight budget, limit eating out to once per week and cook more at home.  

5) Cook in bulk 

When planning your weekly meals, consider recipes that can be prepared in bulk, for example spaghetti bolognese, casseroles, soups, curries etc. These dishes can often be spread across multiple meals in the week or can even be frozen and used in future. There are so many benefits to cooking in bulk! Not only will it save money, it will save time in the kitchen and can be a great way to pile a tonne of veggies into a dish to boost nutrition and satiety. 

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