Buy local and in season
- Buying from farmers markets, local markets or small grocery stores ensures that fruit and veggies are picked fresh, delivered quickly and available to the consumer at the optimum time, rather than sitting in huge cold storage facilities when offered all year round by mass retailers.
- Eating with the seasons is not only cheaper, but is better nutritionally too – food that is plentiful in winter often has higher vitamin C (e.g. citrus) or complex carbohydrates (pumpkins, sweet potatoes), whereas lighter, refreshing and water-based foods like mango, salads and melons are better suited to the summer months.
Optimise the space you have and grow what you can
- Grow herbs and small salad veggies on a sunny windowsill, potted plants on your balcony or raised beds in a small backyard.
- Every mouthful of food you produce yourself saves you money, reduces your exposure to chemicals and is a great learning activity to enjoy with kids and the whole family.
- Drinking fresh, filtered wateris much more economical than purchasing premade drinks that more often than not are full of sugar, preservatives and other nasties.
- In the summer months, make up jugs of iced herbal teas – peppermint, ginger and lemongrass, or fruit teas are especially refreshing. Sweeten with stevia and cut fruit if desired and serve in lovely glasses to enjoy your very own mocktails!
Bulk out meals with lower priced protein options
- Whilst grass fed beef, wild salmon and organic chicken are ideal protein sources, consider more economical protein options such as organic eggs, beans and pulses, home-made yogurt or soft cheeses, and nuts and seeds.
- When soaked and cooked from dried, beans, pulses and lentils are highly cost-effective and are great to bulk out casseroles, salads, stews and soups – not just for vegetarians!
Don’t buy anything with an ingredients list greater than 5 items
- One of my golden rules when shopping for pantry staples is not to buy anything with more than 5 ingredients or with an ingredient listed that I do not know what it is. This usually rules out more than 80% of most processed foods, and leads onto the next tip…
Cook from scratch
- Cooking doesn’t have to be a gourmet feast every time you step foot in the kitchen. Spending one weekend afternoon prepping for the following week – soups, homemade frozen meals, slow cooking and meal planning can make the weeknight dinners much easier after a long day at work.
You will actually eat LESS when you feed your body
- Feeding your body the correct nutrients it needs from a predominantly whole food plant-based diet will actually result in less food being consumed and less hunger as the body’s needs are met. Add greens to breakfast smoothies, veggies to dinner casseroles and soups, and make salad the main feature of your lunch rather than just the side dish.
- Many processed foods are developed by food chemists with added chemicals such as MSG to make you eat MORE, not less. Remember, the food industry is there to make a profit, not care about your health and wellbeing.
Take a packed lunch
- Office workers, school kids or simply out on a family trip, making and taking your own lunch is one of the single best money-saving behaviours you can have.
- Leftovers from dinner the night before or salads with beans and tinned fish offers a much more nutritious and cheaper meal than one purchased out every day.
- Whether excess from your own garden, buying in bulk, or making the most of seasonal fruits, turn to the arts of preserving for long lasting and nutritious foods.
- Stewing, canning or dehydrating fruits, fermenting to make sauerkrautor pickles, or freezing allows you to enjoy the summer harvest during the winter months.
- With estimates of food wastage at 20% per household in Australia, eating leftovers and maximising food usage should be something we can all improve upon.
- Freezing veggies scraps plus bones to make soup or stock later on, adding juicing fibre waste to muffins or muesli bars, packing a lunch for the next day and having a more organised pantry and fridge will all help reduce food and money wastage.
10 Tips for Healthy Eating - without costing the earth
- Featured | Karen Ball