Healthy Eating on a Budget

Planning is the secret to healthy eating based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines while sticking to a budget:

  • Plan your meals and snacks for the week.
  • Make a list and stick to it.
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry. (Not only does this limit unplanned purchases, it also limits unplanned kilojoules when you’re trying to control your weight).
  • Spend most of your money on the Five Food Groups.
  • Think hard about why you are buying discretionary foods and how much you really need to buy. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight, because if you don’t buy it and take it home, it’s much easier to stick to your goals.
  • If you would really like to have a high kilojoule food, buy the smallest amount that will satisfy you, the best quality you can afford and eat it slowly, savouring it with all your senses.
  • Try to limit discretionary foods and drinks to special occasions and small amounts. Avoiding leftovers not only saves you money but the extra kilojoules too.
  • Drink water instead of juice or sweetened drinks, it’s free and has no kilojoules.
  • Use what you already have, what’s in season and what’s on special. For example, almost any vegetable can be cooked in stock and pureed to make a delicious winter soup. Just add wholegrain bread and you have a meal.
  • Freeze leftovers for other meals or for lunches.
  • Use leftovers in different ways.
  • Substitute ingredients.
  • Use powdered skim milk in recipes.
  • Make your own custards and milk based desserts using low fat milk and limit added sugar.
  • Buy smaller amounts of lean meat, skinless chicken and fish and extend meals by adding legumes, extra vegetables and grains. By adding extra vegetables to meat dishes, you will also reduce the kilojoules in the dish.
  • Know how you will use what you buy, how much and when.
  • Only buy what you need.
Image of frozen vegetables to illustrate eating healthy on a budget.