By Katie Allison
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Diabetes NSW &
You are not alone if you think healthy eating comes with a hefty
price tag. Many Australians believe that healthy foods cost more
than packaged, convenient or fast food, but this is not necessarily
Healthy eating on a budget really comes down to being savvy and
Try these cost-saving ideas to help you make healthier food
choices without breaking the bank:
1. Avoid the hype
Foods that are promoted as being a 'superfood' tend to cost more
and may be overrated. For example, a protein ball costs around
$3.00 per ball compared to about $1.21 for grain crackers with a
small can of tuna. Tuna and crackers are not only cheaper but they
have just as much, if not more, protein and make for a great travel
snack! Other options could include a small handful of unsalted nuts
for around $0.40 or a hard-boiled egg for $0.50 - this even allows
for it being a free-range, jumbo egg.
Don't buy into the hype, you are often paying more for packaging
2. Fresh is best
Fresh food is packed with nutrition and lower in added salt,
sugar or fat. Not only this, but it can also end up cheaper.
The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) highlighted the
difference between some commonly eaten fresh versus processed food.
- A serve of raw chicken is 100g (raw weight)
- Raw whole chicken = $0.66 per 100g
- BBQ chicken = $0.80 per 100g
- Pre-made chicken kebabs = $1.70 per 100g
Although buying a whole raw chook might seem more expensive at
first glance, once you work out the cost per 100g, you will see you
get the most serves and more bang for your buck from the fresh raw
3. But frozen is good too!
If you find that you are throwing out vegetables regularly, and
technically throwing away dollars, try frozen varieties. They are
snap frozen after harvest and still hold a lot of nutrition. They
can be a healthy, longer lasting option.
Don't just consider what you are eating but also what you are
drinking. Tap water is readily available, cheap, kilojoule free and
the best option. Try to carry a reusable drink bottle with you when
on the road that you can refill along the way.
5. Shop smart
Before purchasing your food, consider where you will purchase it
from. You can often find value for money at farmers' markets,
grocers, butchers and fish markets.
Your local supermarket may also have specials. Scope out their
catalogue ahead of time to identify deals and when you are perusing
the supermarket shelves do not forget to look on the high and low
shelves as they can hold some of the cheaper items.
It may be worth buying in bulk. This is especially true for meat
products. Buy lean cuts of quality meat when they are on special
and freeze until later in the week or month when you may need
6. What's in season?
When it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, buy in season to
Cherries, lemons, mandarins, nectarines, oranges, peaches,
Apricots, berries, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums,
Artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus, green beans, beetroot,
cucumber, chillies, fennel, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas,
potatoes, silver beet, zucchini, watercress
Asparagus, green beans, capsicums, celery, cucumber, eggplant,
lettuce, mushrooms, onions, okra, peas, potatoes, radish,
sweetcorn, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini
These cost saving ideas can help you eat healthily on a regular
basis. Eating healthily can help you to manage your diabetes and
reduce your risk of complications, ultimately saving you money on