The price of food has been soring like we haven't seen before. Tomatoes can cost up to AUD 20 per kilo!! Which is plainly madness. But do we have to stop eating healthily now? Is there still a chance to feed your family healthy nourishing meals on a tight budget?
The answer is YES! Delicious, healthy food doesn’t have to blow your budget. There are many tips and tricks that can help us to enjoy nutritious meals that in fact will cost you less than processed food or takeout. Let’s look at some of my favourites.
1. Weekly meal plan.
The most important step to take is to plan your meals for the week ahead and create a weekly meal plan. It might seem time-consuming at the beginning, but it will save a lot of money and time when done right. Don’t throw away the meal plan and the shopping list. You can make a collection of your meal plans and alternate them in the future. This will save you a lot of time. You can download a free meal-plan template here.
2. Never shop hungry
This is a good rule to follow and my favourite tip. Have a snack before you go to the shop. I always buy way too much when go shopping hungry. Shopping on an empty stomach will mean you make impulse purchases. They can be easily avoided if you don’t feel hungry.
3. Shopping list
Make a shopping list and stick to it. It is so simple. Nothing goes into your shopping basket if it is not on your list!
4. Buy items on special
Look if you can find items from your list that are on special. I often buy organic bread when it is reduced. I slice it at home and freeze it. Take a slice when you need it and defrost it. This way I have fresh organic bread every day. Sign up for a newsletter at your favourite shop. My local food and veg store has great weekly offers that I always take advantage of.
5. Seasonal shopping
Fresh fruit and vegetables are very expensive at the moment. Especially when organic. Check out what fruit and vegetables are in season right now and incorporate them into your meal plan. The produce that is in season costs less and is fresh and rich in nutrients. Win-win. I rarely buy fresh berries in winter, they are expensive and don’t taste great as they had to travel from somewhere warmer and were picked when still green. Instead, I buy pears, apples, and stone fruit.
Look for frozen berries, they are a great alternative to the fresh variety at a fraction of the cost. My kids absolutely love frozen raspberries and blueberries from Aldi. It is great if you can afford organic, but please don’t stress about it. Conventional fruit and vegetables are better than no fruit and vegetables. Check the clean dozen and incorporate it into your meal plan. Again, the produce that is in season is cheaper. Is Pumpkin in season? Make roast pumpkin one night and pumpkin soup the other.
6. Buy dry beans
Dry beans are very cheap and they are a great source of protein. There are countless delicious dishes you can cook from dry beans. Check out my Nourishing lentil soup with mung beans or Spiced Rice & Lentils (Mejadra) if you need some inspiration.
7. Buy canned food
Can’t afford fresh fish? Buy canned salmon and tuna instead. Canned fish is usually wild-caught, which is a big advantage and is a great source of good protein and healthy omega-3.
You can make a delicious salmon dip using this recipe. Just replace hot-smoked salmon with the tinned one. It will only cost a fraction of the supermarket one.
Canned tomatoes even organic-only cost a dollar or two and you can make delicious Tomato Soup in no time.
I also always pick up a tin or two of canned beans, like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils. They are a great addition to a healthy diet and are very reasonably priced.
8. Batch cooking
Double your recipe and freeze half for the following week. It will save money and time. Just make sure to put half of the meal away straight away, otherwise, if it tastes too good, your fam might go for seconds and thirds 😊
9. Learn how to cook
Since you found me on this blog, I guess you are a home cook. But if you don’t cook most of your meals at home because you don’t know how to - learn how to cook. This is THE most important tip. A simple cooked meal is always cheaper and healthier than your local takeaway.
Home-cooked meals come with an additional bonus, you are in control of what ingredients are going into your meal. This is especially important if you are following a specific diet such as gluten-free for example.
Cooking is fun and easy. Start with the basics. There are a million videos on YouTube that will take you through a recipe step-by-step. Look for meal prep videos, they are great for saving money and time. And of course, you will find tons of healthy gluten-free recipes right here on aisforappleau.com
So, as you can see, we can eat healthily on a tight budget. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A little planning and preparation will take you a long way.
Did you know that I offer a smart shopping trip? Let me know if this is something you are interested in and I can show you how to navigate the supermarket like a pro! Send me a message to schedule a free 15-minute call.