Many people assume that eating healthy comes with a hefty price tag… But it doesn’t have to! In fact, some of the healthiest foods you can eat are actually extremely cheap. Dietitian Rebecca Gawthorne explains how to eat healthy on a budget!
- Make your own lunches– seems obvious, but if you regularly buying lunches out, i.e. 4 days per week this will cost you over $3000 a year. This doesn’t include any extra coffees, snacks, drinks or vending machine visits.
- Choose lentils & beans for protein. No need to do this for every meal but swapping you meat/chicken/fish to lentils & beans for even just a few meals per week can save you a lot of cash. Beans & lentils are rich in protein, fibre and minerals, they are great for gut health & digestion, will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and help keep you feeling full.
- Swap your cereals for plain rolled oats. Oats are WAY cheaper than pre-made cereals, are a great source of fibre, minerals & healthy low GI carbohydrates. Plus, they don’t have the added sugars that many cereals contain, bonus.
- Buy seasonal fruit & veggies in bulk & freeze. There are a lot of fruits & veggies you can buy bulk on sale and freeze for use later on! Think over ripe bananas for nice-cream, banana pancakes and banana cake or baby spinach and over ripe avocados for smoothies. A quick google at the super market will help you buy fruit & veggies that are currently in season. In-season produce is always cheaper.
- Buy frozen veggies. Fresh food, yes, is great! But frozen is still a really good alternative. Frozen veggies are usually cheap, and most are snap frozen these days, which means they retain majority of their nutritional value. Less money wasted because you don’t run the risk of them going off and having to throw them out. Just remember to steam or stir-fry your frozen veggies; don’t boil them as this will destroy the water-soluble vitamins.
- Consider your supplements. Whilst technically not a food, talking about supplements is still relevant here. Many people take expensive supplements that they do not need. Of course, if you are taking a supplement under the advice from your health care professional, then keep taking it. Most people can get all the nutrition needed from food.
- Keep an organised fridge & pantry. This will minimise food wastage. Do a regular fridge and pantry clean (fortnightly is good), keep things in some form of order, whether it’s certain foods grouped together, colour coded, with labels & dates on containers. When restocking the fridge, bring the older food to the front, use that first and then eat new food.
- Buy foods in bulk. Many foods come conveniently packed in single serve packs, which end up being a lot more expensive. For example, instead of buying rice in “ready to eat” cups for $3 per 100g, buy the 5kg bag which is 15c per 100g and cook them into portioned cup sizes yourself.
For some cheap DIY protein rich snack ideas, click here.
Rebecca is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia. Rebecca’s extensive experience, love for health & fitness and easy to relate to tone, has made her one of Australian’s go-to girls for professional nutrition advice. She runs the popular Instagram @nourish_naturally & blog on rebeccagawthorne.com.au which offers free health guides, helpful & realistic nutrition advice & healthy yet easy recipes.