Don’t believe anyone who tells you healthy eating is expensive. The truth is that making healthier choices may often save you money at the grocery checkout. You don’t need to live off baked beans, either! Here are my five budget-friendly kitchen staples to have on hand this summer to cater for the whole family from babies to adults.
1. Tinned corn ($1.50/serve)
All vegetables are healthy for you — whether they come fresh, frozen or tinned. Using tinned corn is a convenient, cheap and easy way to add more nutrients, like fibre, into your diet. Plus, corn tastes great! Add tinned corn (drained) to fritters, throw into a salad and include in a stir-fry or healthy fried rice.
2. Rice cereal (32 cents/serve)
For families with little ones, keeping rice cereal handy is a convenient, healthy and affordable staple that is versatile — you can add it to purees or other soft foods. Personally, I recommend SunRice Baby Rice Cereal as it’s made in Australia with Australian rice, has no added sugar or artificial flavours, and is an easy way to boost their iron.
3. Plain greek yoghurt (50 cents/serve)
Regardless of the season, yoghurt is always a healthy option for you and your family. Choosing yoghurt with probiotics can help support good gut health — and it’s a convenient snack or addition to meals. Enjoy yoghurt with seasonal fruit for a quick, easy snack, add yoghurt to smoothies or swap cream for yoghurt when baking or making curries.
4. Brown rice (35 cents/serve)
Brown rice is a nutritious wholegrain and a seriously affordable way to include more nutrition into your diet. Brown rice is unmilled and has retained its bran layer, which is the most fibre and nutrient-rich part of the grain. Brown rice is easy to serve with a variety of healthy meals from stir-fry, to fried rice and curries.
5. Plain rolled oats (10 cents/serve)
Oats are a source of fibre and a great way to include more wholegrains into your diet. Making a batch of overnight oats is a brilliant, healthy way to prep ahead of a busy week. Not only will it save you time but they’ll balance out those dine-out experiences, which might cost you $20+ for avocado on toast. Make kid-friendly, three-ingredient pancakes in 10 minutes by combining plain rolled oats with mashed banana and egg — perfect for a quick breakfast or healthy after-school snack.
Three money-saving food tips for healthy eating
- Create an ‘eat now’ tray for your fridge. Place any food that’s close to its best-before in the tray (which lives in the fridge). Each time you open the fridge, use the food in the ‘eat now’ tray first. Make an omelette, casserole or freeze it.
- Chop up (or blend) leftover herbs, combine with oil or stock and freeze in ice-cubes, perfectly portion sized for your next cook up. While you’re at it, add a little garlic. It’s a perfect way to use up remaining stock or herbs.
- Buy in season and buy in bulk — then make friends with your freezer. You can freeze ripe avocados for smoothies, seasonal fruit or vegetables like zucchini, baby spinach, ripe tomatoes, extra bread (blitz to make into breadcrumbs) and freeze extra coconut cream/milk. You can also freeze dairy milk in an ice-cube tray for thicker smoothies.
Lyndi Cohen is a dietitian, nutritionist and SunRice wellness ambassador.