There is this common misconception that eating well and incorporating healthier eating habits into your life can cost an arm or a leg, but it doesn’t have to. Today I share my top 5 tips on how to eat well, but still keeping within a reasonable budget at the same time!
1 / Eat seasonally – Eating produce that’s in season is not only better for your health (the nutrients are much higher in seasonal produce), it’s also cheaper. Have you ever tried buying berries in the middle of winter and realised a pack of raspberries could cost you the same as a mortgage repayment? Ok, slight exaggeration, but it’s much more expensive because they’re out of season and either the suppliers can get it locally but it’s scarce and costs more, or they have to import it which again increases the cost for them (and ultimately you too!). Keeping up to date on what fruits and vegetables are thriving in which seasons allows you to purchase cheaper, more nutrient-dense produce.
2 / Plan out your weekly meals and do up a grocery list – There have been many times I’ve spent hours mindlessly strolling through the shopping aisles trying to think of what to eat that week and what we need at home, only to not use some of the things I’ve bought or doubling up on things we already had. Save time and money by spending 15mins checking your fridge and pantry for what you already have, and thinking about some meals you can eat that week that can incorporate some of those things, and write down a list of extra things you need. This bit of extra organisation helps you to use what you’ve already got and save you from spending on what you don’t need.
3 / Buy pantry goods in bulk – Are there things you use weekly that you constantly need to top up, like rice, pasta, beans/lentils, nuts, seeds, flours etc? Find a local bulk foods shop (there also many online ones that deliver too) and start getting these in bulk amounts. The initial outlay is more expensive, but over time it works out to be cheaper than buying small packets each week. And as a bonus, it’s also better for the environment due to less packaging being needed.
4 / Reduce your food wastage – It is estimated that Australians waste $8 billion worth of food each year, which is incredible when you think about it. Reduce your own wastage by checking the contents of your fridge every day to see if anything needs to be used first. If there are vegetables that need to be used, toss them in olive oil and spices and use them in your meals for the next couple of days. Cut up your fruits and pop them in containers or sandwich bags and freeze them to extend their shelf life, and use them for smoothies, yoghurt toppers or a snack on their own.
5 / Prioritise simple, good quality wholefoods over expensive “superfoods” – If money is tight, forget about the fancy superfoods (yes, $10 bags of single serving acai pulp and $8 bags of kale chips, I’m looking at you). These quite often come with a big price tag, and it’s just not necessary! Prioritise things like seasonal fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, pantry staples and good quality animal products over them. You’ll be able to create much more meals and get more bang for your buck!