10 TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
Are you tired of going over budget? Looking for the cheapest ways to eat healthy on a budget? We can help you out with our list of tips for eating healthy on a budget. Don’t feel like you have to adopt every single one of these tips, but incorporating a few into your lifestyle can help you save money and still eat healthy.
This is the best place to start if you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget. Start by planning your meals because this will shape your grocery list.
If you want to cut out the distractions and purchase what you actually need, you’re going to need to enter the supermarkets prepared. Planning what you want to eat for the week and building a shopping list to match that is essential in ensuring you don’t spend unnecessary money or double up on things you already have at home. Only purchase what you need. Build your shopping list and, as the next tip will elaborate on, stick to your grocery list.
Look, we know this isn’t easy. Walking into a bright, bustling and decorated grocery store tends to draw you in. And, even more so, when you’re already hungry. Whether you bee-line for the confectionary aisle or randomly decide to purchase a range of cheeses, entering the store without a plan is basically an invitation for disaster.
Writing a list is the first step. Honouring it is the second. Hot tip - avoid shopping for groceries on an empty stomach. This reduces the likelihood of not sticking to your grocery list.
If you can sit down in the right frame of mind, pull up your Woolies, Coles and Aldi websites and make a list of healthy options that you actually need, then you’ll be able to save both time and money while you shop. Plus, you’ll stop yourself from aimlessly wandering through each aisle, picking up unnecessary items that ‘you might need later.’
Another way to improve the process is to take an inventory of what you already have so you don’t double up or suddenly question whether you have enough of something at home. You know those veggies you haven’t used up yet sitting at the back of fridge? Make note of those.
Buying in bulk is a great way to stock up on longer-lasting products (which also means your other weekly shops will be more efficient) and can save you a lot of time as long as you buy the right things.
Perishables like meats, fruits, vegetables and some dairy items are best left on your weekly shopping list, but when it comes to things like pasta, nuts, grains and spices, buying in bulk is a great way to ensure you always have what you need on hand.
If you’re shopping for school snacks for the kids or just want some snacks on hand when you’re hungry, purchasing those kinds of items in bulk is a great way to ensure you don’t waste money on treats when you’re out and about. Knowing that you have food and snacks at home will help you curb that urge to spend $50 on pastries at the bakery.
We know it’s not as glamorous as dining in at a river-side restaurant with live music, three courses and a fancy cocktail to spruce it up, or as convenient as a last-minute drive to the nearest drive-thru, but staying home and cooking from your kitchen is a cost-effective, healthy and rewarding option. And look, if you don’t find cooking rewarding, you’ll have to at least agree with the first two options.
It might not be the easiest choice in the world, but you can get creative in your cooking by trying new recipes, adjusting ingredients and expanding your culinary palette. Who knows, you might even discover a passion for the fine art of cooking. Plus, the more you cook, the more you experiment with new dishes, and the less you’re stuck eating the same dishes over and over again. Cooking at home could also help you save money as you’re not facing up to a staggering bill at the end of the evening with one serving of fries totalling almost $11 AUD as it is. Plus, you can buy larger quantities of ingredients you frequently use and store them in the fridge or freezer until next time, so again, saving a lot of money.
Besides, there’s something very rewarding about being able to feed yourself and your friends with delicious homemade food that you cooked yourself! If you’re trying to impress a certain someone, adding ‘certified home chef’ to your repertoire is bound to earn you brownie points.
That bag of shredded cheese may be convenient when you’re in the kitchen, but it is far better value for money to purchase a full block of cheese. The same goes for many day-to-day kitchen items. Whole grains like brown rice and oats are cheaper per serving than processed cereals, and those less processed foods are often sold in larger quantities that provide more servings per package (Bjarnadottir, A. 2021).
You’ve probably heard of those expert mums that strike fear into cashiers with their incredible ability to find coupons for everything; you may even know one yourself. Well, if you’re trying to save money, you might have to become one.
Let’s start easy. Set up your rewards cards. Woolworths Rewards, Flybuys, and even your service station cards like BP Rewards can help you when you need to pick up a few things while refilling your car. These loyalty programs are almost always free, easy to set up, and can offer plenty of benefits and savings if you’re frequently shopping at the supermarket.
Now onto the coupons. If your grocery list is planned out, the next step is to find the best coupons that can cut costs on the things on your list. Don’t get sucked into the things you don’t need - yes, that 3-for-1 deal on biscuits may be a ‘great deal’, but do you need biscuits? Because if not, you’re not saving money; you’re actually spending more on something that isn’t on your list. This is where your self-control is put to the test.
With so many coupons constantly available, if you know where to look, finding the right deals to cut costs from your shopping list is a great way to save money on each shop.
One of the easiest ways to cut costs and eat healthy without cooking is to sustain yourself with meal replacement shakes. Meal replacement shakes are perfect on the go when you’re between meals, driving to and from work, or simply don’t have time to stop and eat. These formulas are also packed with nutrients to support a healthy diet.
The Man Shake and The Lady Shake are two nutrient-dense options that deliver 25 vitamins & minerals alongside a hefty dose of protein and a healthy level of dietary fibre. These formulas are perfect for curbing your appetite between meals and can help you lose weight and support muscle growth.
Another way to fuel yourself between meals is through Protein Bars, Drinks & Snacks. Protein bars like Muscle Nation Protein Custard Bars and Smart Protein Bars are delicious alternatives that can be consumed anytime, anywhere.
Because fruits, berries and vegetables are generally only in season for a few months per year (and expensive, too), it is far more cost effective to buy them frozen, and they are great to use for cooking, mixing with smoothies and topping off your yoghurt or oats. Plus, there’s no rush to use them before they go bad.
Also, despite what you may hear, frozen fruits and vegetables remain almost identical in terms of nutritional value as fresh fruits and vegetables, as many are snap frozen. While there can be slight differences, purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables is easy to access when you need them and allows you to access produce when it’s out of season.
Don’t feel guilty if you struggle with this. I do too. Currently on my desk are four rolls of sushi from the sushi place downstairs, a crumpled-up brown paper bag that held this morning’s almond croissant, and an empty cup of coffee. It’s not even pay week.
But, if we work together, maybe we can make a positive change and start saving money. Let’s begin by packing lunch. By preparing a filling meal each day for lunch, you lower cravings and stop yourself from running across the road for a bagel and a pastry. The easiest thing to do is take leftovers from the previous night or put a bunch of ingredients into a tortilla for an easy and delicious lunch wrap.
Don’t just show loyalty to one supermarket. When you play the savings game, loyalty doesn’t exist. Plunder what you can from Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA because they’ll all offer discounts on different things.
Also, we hate to break it to you, but if you’re trying to save money and eat healthy, you might have to shop for generic brands instead of big names. While Uncle Toby’s Oats are well-known, you might have to swap them for Woolies’ name brand. Like most generic alternatives, they deliver a larger quantity for a lower cost, and often, the exact same quality.
At the end of the day, if you’re trying to eat healthy while on a budget, it’s going to take discipline, time, and effort, but we know you can do it! Incorporating a few of these tips into your lifestyle can help you create a good dietary routine while easing the stress of buying groceries each week.
But, if all else fails, our off-the-record suggestion is that you grow a garden.