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Smart and healthy shopping

Are you concerned about how you can afford healthy food and be able to look after yourself and your family? The good news is you can shop for healthy and delicious food whilst on a budget, whether you’re buying for one or for a whole family.

Putting your dollars towards healthy food, instead of ‘sometimes’ foods and drinks can help to keep you and your family eating well and feeling healthy, and could even save you money in the long run!

In fact, Australian research shows:

  • most households spend more on ‘sometimes’ food and drinks than on foods and drinks from the 5 food groups
  • foods and drinks such as sugary drinks, takeaway foods and alcohol are common ‘sometimes’ foods and drinks that increase the food budget
  • healthy diets in line with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating would be 12-15% cheaper than unhealthy diets for a family of 2 adults and 2 children.


  • Plan your healthy weekly menu ahead including meals and snacks for the week and then write your shopping list
  • A meal plan for the week will not only save money and cut down on food wastage, it will also mean you will not need to ‘pop to the shops’ as often.
  • Incorporate legumes, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, soya beans or lentils into meals for a tasty and cheaper alternative.
  • Consider growing your own vegetables or get involved in your local community garden.

Shopping smart

  • Shop around locally to find the best prices.
  • Check out your local food co-ops or farmers markets to see if they offer any of your usual items at cheaper prices.
  • Look for the lowest cost per kg or unit.
  • Look out for specials and buy everyday shelf-stable foods in bulk as they are usually cheaper (avoid buying fresh foods in bulk unless you can be sure to eat, cook or freeze them before they perish).
  • Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables can be a cheap and healthy alternative to fresh items. Choose canned vegetables with no added salt (or reduced salt), and canned fruit in natural juice or water.
  • Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season as they are often less expensive and better in quality and taste.
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat, for example, chicken thighs and stewing beef or lamb, and trim the fat before cooking in casseroles and stews.

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