Having healthy food options at home is an important part of looking after ourselves. However, it is no secret that the rising cost of living has sent grocery bills soaring and many Australians are feeling the pinch.
Here are 5 tips that will take the pressure off your wallet whilst still ensuring you are filling your trolley with healthy food options.
1: Buy fruit and veg that is in season
Fruit and vegetables are rich in nutrients and an important part of a balanced, healthy diet. Buying fruit and veg that is in season is cheaper, more nutritious and tastier than out of season options. Find out what produce is in season in summer, spring, autumn and winter to save at the check-out.
2: Buy staple ingredients in bulk
Stocking up on your daily staples is a great way to save long term. Here are some tips on what to look out for:
- Choose bulk options for wholegrain foods. Ingredients like brown rice and rolled oats are much cheaper when bought in larger quantities compared to individual microwavable serves.
- Bulk buy shelf stable ingredients when they are on special. You can save by looking out for price reductions on foods like rolled oats, pastas, tinned vegetables and legumes like beans and lentils, tinned fish and herbs and spices.
- Bulk buy lean proteins like chicken breast, fish and turkey when they are on special and use your freezer to store them for up to three months.
3: Go frozen
Frozen fruit and veg are a nutritious and affordable way to ensure you are meeting your recommended 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit. Frozen produce can be stored for up to 12 months, is quick to prepare and offers the same nutritional benefits as fresh produce as it is frozen quickly after harvest, locking in key nutrients.
Brilliant ways to use frozen fruit and vegetables:
- Add some frozen veg to some vegetable fritters.
- Incorporate a peas, carrots and corn mix into san choy bow.
- Build a custard pudding using mixed frozen berries.
- Use frozen mixed berries and banana to blitz up a healthy smoothie.
4: Create a meal plan and shopping list
Planning out some meal options ahead of time can prevent you from buying unnecessary food items that add to your bill. Start by writing down some healthy dinner and lunch options along with a list of ingredients you need to create them. Using a shopping list is a simple way to get the most out of your shop without spending too much.
5: Reduce the amount of meat in your meals
When it comes to protein sources, plant-based options like lentils, beans and tofu are a rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals and are often much cheaper than meats like chicken, red meat and seafood. Reducing the meat portion and replacing it with a plant-based alternative is a nutritious way to reduce the cost of your meals.
Fantastic meat-reduced meal ideas:
- Reduce the mince portion in your spaghetti bolognese or taco mince mix and replace with tinned legumes like lentils or beans.
- Reduce the chicken portion in your stir fry or curry and replace with tofu or chickpeas.
- Use dried or canned legumes in warming soup options like a red lentil soup or in fresh salads like this classic bean salad.
- Assemble colourful bowls with marinated tofu like in this tofu poke bowl.
By Lucy McConnell, Student Dietitian