Is it just me or do grocery prices keep going up? Then sneakily appear to come down ($2 milk anyone?). Now I’m no economist, and I can’t predict the future of grocery prices; I can however offer some tips for eating healthy on a budget. Because let’s face it, we can all benefit from saving a dollar or two on the weekly shop, leaving a few extra dollars for more enjoyable things.
Top tips for feeding your family on a budget.
- Take more notice of appropriate portion sizes, and stick to them. This is particularly pertinent to protein sources such as red meat. Do you know what a recommended serving of meat looks like? See my earlier blog post on meat and alternatives for more information. If you buy your meat from a butcher, ask to have certain sizes cut for you. Don’t feel compelled to eat the entire 400g portion of meat that comes on a tray in the supermarket. By eating appropriate serve sizes, you might halve your weekly spend on red meat! That’s not to be sneezed at.
- Grow your own herbs/vegetables. It may be an initial outlay for seedlings, pots, soil and fertilisers, but by using your own herbs you can save about $3 per bunch. Get the kids involved also, there is nothing better than using fresh produce straight from your own backyard, or balcony. Added bonus, less nasties and less food miles travelled. If you are lacking a green thumb or space, look for local community garden to grow produce.
- Buy in bulk. Items such as milk, pasta, cereal, nuts and more can all be purchased in large quantities, which are generally cheaper. NOTE: This will only work if you still eat correct portions. If you buy nuts in bulk then eat more, you are worse off! Which brings me to my next point..
- Take note of the price per kg. This is the single reason it takes me so long to do my groceries! I look at the price per kg for each grocery item, this is located on the price tag on the shelf in the supermarket. Generally speaking the larger quantities will be cheaper, but take note of sale items. Sometimes a 2 for $5 offer is still not as cheap as a larger sized jar/bottle anyway. Olive oil is a good example of this.
- Eat seasonally. Due to demand in Australia, most fruit and vegetables are available all year round, this does not mean it is fresh, and we often pay a premium for it. Think frozen apples. By buying in Season you will pay less for available fruit and vegetables and actually get more nutrients.
- Get into meal planning. This might take you back to university days when money really was tight, but by simply putting aside some free time to plan meals for the week, you will buy what you need and hopefully reduce those impulse buys at the shops.
- Use leftovers. If you have done your meal planning for the week, aim to make more than you need for dinner. I make enough for 4-6 people even though there are 2 of us, this way there are always leftovers for lunch, and some to freeze for nights I don’t feel like cooking, or for when The Bachelor is on.
- Bulk up. And I don’t mean protein powders. Get into legumes, beans, splits peas. Add them to any type of meal. For example use half the amount of mince when making spaghetti bolognese and substitute with red kidney beans. The added bonus is that you have more fibre = less likely to reach for the chocolate after dinner.
Eating healthy on a budget requires some planning and thinking, but it can be done. I hope these tips have been helpful, and I’d love to hear what your tips are for savvy supermarket spending and healthy eating.
Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG).
This blog post first appeared on That Healthy Girl, written by Madeleine.