Shopping on a Budget
During a busy week, it can feel like the easiest and cheapest choice to grab a takeaway meal for dinner. In NSW, a recent study found more than 1 in 5 children and adolescents (23%) ate takeaway meals or snacks from fast food outlets 1 or more times a week. However, these meals are usually high in kilojoules, saturated fat, sugar and salt.
The same study found that fast food consumption was significantly more prevalent among children from low SES backgrounds (28%) compared with high SES backgrounds (15%).
Eating healthy on a budget may seem like a daunting task, but we have put together a few ways to help you save some cash while helping your family eat healthier! While we want to keep the cost low, our goal is to choose the best quality products for our individual budget.
• Plan out meals for the week – use perishable items first and use weekly sales to help plan meals!
• Make a list and stick to it – this will help you stay within the budget without that pesky wandering eye!
• Never shop on an empty stomach! Being full will help you – and your kiddos – make fewer impulse buys.
• Buy nutritious staple items first, such as meats, whole-grain rice, or beans – this way you make sure you can cross the most nutritious, and possibly most expensive, options off of the list first.
• Buy in bulk! Meats, bread, dried beans or legumes can usually be purchased for a lower price in bulk.
• Frozen & tinned fruits and vegetables have nearly the same nutrient value as fresh – these options have a much longer shelf life and can increase the variety of your menu!
• Don’t be afraid to buy generic brands – often we pay for the advertising and marketing cost of a brand, not the quality of the product. Compare nutrition labels yourself!
• Keep an eye out for specials – catalogues and (free!) customer rewards cards can help you find cheaper choices.
• Local, in-season fruits and veggies tend to be more cost-effective.
• Grow your own produce! A garden can be a fun, outdoor activity for you and your family.
• Try to eat meat-free one or more times a week – replace meats with beans or legumes for a cost-effective and more nutritious meal!
• Add kidney beans, lentils or other legumes to meat dishes or stews to make a hearty, nutritious meal last longer.
• Buy block cheese and grate it at home – pre-packaged products are typically a little more expensive!
• Buy reusable water bottles – save some money and the planet!