Tips for healthy eating on a budget


Shopping is quicker and easier if you make up a shopping list. Shop 2 - 3 times a week - you will have less to carry and fruit and vegetables will be fresher and keep their nutritional value longer.

Go for value

To get the best nutritional value for money:

  • Buy fruit or vegetables in season. They are usually better quality and cheaper.
  • Substitute fresh fruit and vegetables for canned or frozen varieties when fresh is not available. Always choose reduced or no added salt or sugar products.

Prepare extra

While it may seem convenient to buy takeaway or packaged meals, it is very expensive. Instead, cook a larger amount and freeze it to use for a meal when you are tired or in a hurry. Keep some easy to prepare foods in your pantry or fridge. Some suggestions are:

  • Baked beans
  • Eggs
  • Canned fish in water
  • Wholegrain crisp bread
  • Canned or dried fruit
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Nuts
  • Milk/Yoghurt
  • Vegetables

Its easy to eat more fruit and vegetables

  • Choose fruit for good health instead of snacks that are high in fat or sugar such as lollies, chips or snack bars. Fruit is also much cheaper than snacks.
  • Add fruit to breakfast cereal or yogurt.
  • Make a fruit smoothie by blending bananas or strawberries with low fat milk or yogurt.
  • Try crunchy vegetableswith low-fat dips as a snack.
  • Replace some of the meat on your plate with vegetables (4 different types).
  • Add extra vegetables or legumes (dried peas, beans or lentils) to soups, stews, pasta and rice dishes.
  • Top English muffins or crumpets with diced vegetables and sprinkle with reduced-fat cheese for a quick mini pizza.
  • Add an extra serve of salad to your sandwich or roll.


Check the price of milk per litre. Try Long Life milk which can be kept in the pantry for longer periods prior to opening.

Variety in your food

Adding fish and chicken to your diet is another way to add variety. Eat fish two or three times a week to maintain a healthy diet. Lean red meat is a great source of protein, iron and zinc. Lean steak or lean mince is better value than sausages or hotdogs.

Budget protein sources

There are a variety of good budget protein sources which are high in fibre and low in fat, including:

  • Kidney beans
  • Three bean mix
  • Chickpeas
  • Baked beans
  • Lentils/Legumes
  • Soy foods

Bread, rice and pasta

Bread, rice and pasta are inexpensive staple foods. Wholegrain or wholemeal foods have the added bonus of extra fibre and some vitamins.

Handy hints

  • Beware of buying out of date food, it is false economy to buy foods that will end up in the bin.
  • Dont buy dented or rusted tins as the food may spoil more quickly.

Healthy Eating Program

To enrol in thehealthy eating and lifestyle program (HELP), contact the Dietitians at Enfield Community Health on 8342 8600.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has an excellent cookbook which can be downloaded at:

Cost of healthy eating per serve

The following list provides the serves recommended forhealthy eating per day and the total costusingbrand name food purchased from Coles and Woolworths.

Bread, cereal, pasta, rice - 4-6 serves a day

A serve is about:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked noodles
  • 3/4 cup breakfast cereal
  • Price per serve:
  • Bread: 13 cents
  • Rice: 8 cents
  • Pasta: 5 cents
  • Cereal: 15-28 cents

Vegetables - 5 serves a day

A serve is about:

  • 1 cup of salad vegies
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegies
  • 1 medium potato

Price per serve:

  • Fresh 25-75 cents
  • Canned 30 cents
  • Frozen 35 cents

Fruit - 2 serves a day

A serve is about:

  • 1 medium piece or two small pieces fruit
  • 1 cup tinned fruit in natural juice

Price per serve:

  • Fresh fruit 45-75 cents
  • Tinned 55-95 cents

Dairy - Milk, cheese, yoghurt, custard - 3 serves a day

A serve is about:

  • 1x200gm tub of yoghurt
  • 1 glass of milk
  • 40gms cheese

Price per serve:

  • Cheese 60 cents
  • Yoghurt 90 cents
  • Milk 36 cents

Meat and alternatives - 1 serve a day

A serve is about:

  • 100gms cooked meat, fish or chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 cup beans

Price per serve:

  • Lean red meat $1 - $2.10
  • Chicken $1.30 - $1.90
  • Fish - fresh $1.30 - $3.50
  • Fish - tinned $1.30 - $1.70
  • Eggs 95 cents
  • Nuts (almonds) $1.30
  • Beans 45 cents

To meet all the recommended amounts in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating an adult would need to spend about $6.50 - $8.50 a day.

The cost of a Big Mac, small fries and small soft drink is around$5.45.