With food costs increasing, you may be paying more attention to what you put in your trolley and how to spend your food dollars. The good news is that you can still eat well without breaking the bank.

Here are a few tips to keep both your body and your budget healthy:

  • Plan your meals for the week, work out which ingredients you already have and use this to write a shopping list. Then make sure you stick to your list when you head to the supermarket or do your online order.
  • Avoid food waste. When you make a purchase, know how much you will need and how you will use it. If buying larger quantities of perishable items that are on sale, do some batch cooking and freezing extra portions for future meals.
  • Shop for fruit and vegetables in season. They are usually of better quality and cheaper. This is also a good way to increase the variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Check out the Sustainable Table’s seasonal produce guide here: Seasonal Produce Guide
  • If fresh vegetables are expensive or unavailable, consider buying frozen produce instead. Vegetables are usually snap frozen soon after they are picked and keep most of the nutrients. They are often cheaper than the fresh variety, particularly when they are out of season.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables are also an option when fresh produce is expensive or out of season. Choose those canned without added salt or sugar.
  • Re-think your protein choices. Animal protein can be expensive, particularly lean cuts of meat, chicken and fresh fish or seafood. Legumes (lentils, chickpeas and dried or canned beans) are an inexpensive protein choice, so consider having a few vegetarian meals each week or replace part of the meat in the dishes such as stews, casseroles and minced based meals with lentils or beans. Canned fish and eggs are also an economical protein source.
  • Wholegrains, including brown rice, barley and wholegrain or wholemeal pasta, are a good source of fibre and nutrition and are relatively inexpensive. They are also versatile foods that can be used as a base for a variety of meals.
  • Switch processed breakfast cereals for a bag of old-fashioned rolled oats. These are much cheaper and can be used to make porridge, home-made muesli or overnight oats.
  • Stock up on healthy non-perishable staples when they are on sale, including grains, canned or dried legumes, canned fish, canned fruit and vegetables and frozen fruit or vegetables.
  • Consider growing your own herbs and salad leaves. These are easy to grow, in a pot outside or on a sunny windowsill. You can also easily grow your own salad sprouts in a glass jar or commercial sprouting kit on your kitchen bench.

For more information: Eat for Health: Healthy Eating On a Budget

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