Although most of us would like to be eating healthier, we have a laundry list of reasons (or, let’s be honest, excuses) of why we ‘can’t.’ At the very top of that list (right between ‘Im too busy!’ and ‘I don’t like vegetables) is usually ‘it’s too expensive!’
And yes, preparing wholesome meals can be pricey compared to grabbing a cheeseburger at Maccas, especially if you’re sourcing your ingredients from health stores or grocers. But, truth is, eating well doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, if you go about it the right way, it costs exponentially less than buying every meal out.
But don’t just take our word for it! In order to prove that eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, we asked accredited Dietitian and founder of the FODMAP challenge, Chloe McLeod, to share her top tips and shopping list for preparing a week’s worth of meals for less than $40.
“Prices often go up and down according to seasonal and environmental factors. When you go to buy your produce, choose what is on special or in season. These foods are usually cheaper, and fresher, too!”
“Be it legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, free range eggs, tofu, unsweetened yoghurt or milk, cutting back on meat is so friendly on the wallet, as well as being great for the planet.”
“Cooking in bulk and freezing extra portions often costs less per meal and is a great time saver. Soups, casseroles and pasta sauces all freeze really well and you can whip them up in large portions in a slow cooker.”
Buy generic and in bulk
“Generic brands are often identical to the more expensive ‘name brands’, at a fraction of the cost. Foods that are often cheaper to buy in larger quantities include breakfast cereals, barley, quinoa, rice and pasta.”
“These won’t go off if you don’t make it home for dinner, thus can be used whenever you need them. This isn’t limited to baked beans or chickpeas, it also includes canned fish. Fish is often thought of as pricey, however canned options like tuna and salmon can come as cheap as 90 cents per tin. Just make sure that you choose those that are in spring water or olive oil and in cans that are free from BPAs.”
“Checking the websites of your grocery stores to see what’s on special and making a list of what you need before you go will help you plan your meals and avoid throwing extra items in the trolley whilst you’re there. Also, avoid doing your food shopping when you’re hungry: this is a great way to come home with extra blocks of chocolate and ice cream. And lastly, consider the packaging, and if it is influencing the price.”
The ‘under $40’ weekly shopping list:
Roast chicken – $7.90 (learn to get a week’s worth of meals out of a roast chicken here)