Susie Burrel dispels the ‘healthy = expensive’ food myth.
Oct 15, 2018 6:10am
In an age where kale chips are often the price of your dinner, sticking to your healthy food goals can be a financial challenge. We asked nutritionist Susie Burrell to share her top tips for eating clean without breaking the bank.
The most important thing you can do to manage your food budget is to plan your meals each week. Planning meals in advance means that you can make meals last a couple of days as well as utlilise leftovers for lunches, hence saving yourself another five to ten dollars each day.
Main meals consisting of lean meat, chicken and fish as well as the recommended two to three cups of vegetables or salad are most cheaply prepared in bulk as it is much cheaper to purchase larger quantities of meat and fresh vegetables and use them all, rather than leaving small volumes for reuse a few night later—reuse that often never happens resulting in large volumes of food being thrown away each week.
2. KNOW YOUR CHEAP PROTEIN AND VEGETABLE OPTIONS
Generally speaking, fresh produce including meat and vegetables are the items that push up the grocery bill quickly and there are a few tricks to bring the cost of these items down. High biological value proteins including eggs can be a great substitute for a red meat meal each week, or try cheaper cuts of meat such as mince which can be easily bulked up with beans.
Much money can too be saved by utilising frozen and canned varieties of tomatoes, beans, broccoli and cauliflower—all items that can suffer from major price increases over the course of the season. Remember, frozen varieties of vegetables have been snap frozen so contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh vegetables but overcooking them is what results in significant reductions on nutritional quality.
It’s good to know when each fruit and vegetable is in season on the Seasonal Food Guide to get the best value for money.
If you consider that you can purchase a tray of your favourite fruit for the same price of a few pieces at a grocery store, for families going through large volumes of fresh produce each week, it really does make sense to take a trip to the markets each week. Or better still, organise a co-op of a few close friends and take turns each month on stocking up on your fresh fruits and veges for a fraction of the price.
A number of studies have found that enjoying a clear, broth style soup before your meal results in individuals eating up to 20 percent less at dinner time. Not only does such as strategy help with weight control and increase ones’ intake of nutrient rich vegetables, it also means less reliance on the relatively expensive meal options of meat and fresh vegetables.
Try following your soup with an omelette or baked beans on toast for a filling, fibre rich but most importantly cheap dinner option.