Save your waistline and your hip pocket

Food Pic

Healthy eating can seem hard. And navigating the supermarket is a minefield, especially when there's so many options, and clever marketing to make us buy certain products


Diabetes Queensland's Accredited Practising Dietitian Alison Bennett says' it's not as difficult as we're led to believe. She's sharing with Healthy U readers her practical tips to eating well on a budget.


Don't shop on an empty stomach

We're told never to shop on an empty stomach because it saves you from making impulse purchases on food items that you don't actually need. The trick is to have something to eat before you shop so you're not tempted by the confectionery aisle or the sale items at the front of the store.


This tip is not only great for our waistlines, but also our hip pocket, as impulse purchases can add up and blow your weekly budget before you know it.


Meal planning

Not everyone is confident in the kitchen. Therefore, cooking, budgeting, shopping and meal planning can sometimes seem daunting. However, planning out these tasks will not only benefit your wallet but should also save you time when you do your weekly shop. Foodie blogs, websites and recipe books are a great way to start planning your meals for the week. Check the cupboard to see what ingredients you have and what you're needing to buy. Don't forget to buy healthy snacks to have on hand too. But most importantly, stick to your list!


The calculator - your new best friend

Supermarkets are super smart at trying to get you to purchase items that you don't need. They place items at eye level to entice you to buy a specific brand. They also often put staple items such as milk and bread at opposite ends of the shop so that it increases the chances of you filling your trolley with non-essential items as you pass them by.


Also watch out for supermarket specials and multi-buy options (2 for 1 deals). A good trick is to have your calculator and shopping list handy. Know what your budget is and add prices to your calculator before you put them in your trolley. If it's too expensive or you start to go over budget, then ditch the item for a substitute, or reconsider whether you need that item at all.


Shop around

Aldi currently has an advertising campaign which sets a challenge to Australian shoppers to take the 'Supermarket switch'. What a great idea! Who doesn't want to save a few dollars, and if you can get the same good quality and nutritious foods cheaper elsewhere, then making the switch makes total sense. Budget-friendly retailers are also great for bulk options for long lasting products. Farmers markets generally have fresh fruit and vegetables that are cheap and great deals as the day nears to a close. Shop around your local area to find who offers the cheapest and freshest options. You might just be surprised!


Cook in bulk and use leftovers for future meals

Cooking every night can be a burden, particularly with the hectic lifestyles most people lead. So aim to cook in bulk (such as stir-fry's, casseroles, curries, soups) and save leftovers in the freezer for another time. Try multipurpose meals like bolognaise mince (can be eaten with pasta, rice, on toast or with vegetables) and portions of roast chicken which can be eaten with salad, steamed veggies, or even in a wrap. Put your leftovers in small containers to make an ideal meal to take to work or in a school lunchbox.


We hope these tips help you understand that eating healthily on a budget is not as hard as you might think, it just takes a little creativity.


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