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A dietitian's tips to eating healthy on a budget + bonus affordable and nutritious recipe

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

With the rising cost of living a lot of households are struggling with the weekly grocery bill. It is becoming harder for families and individuals alike to continue to eat healthy when everything continues to increase in price.

The truth is, you don’t need expensive powders or “superfoods” to be healthy. You don’t need to purchase organic foods. You don’t need to eat goji berries, açai, quinoa, bee pollen, pink rock salt from the Himalayas or any other of these products labelled as “miracle superfoods” to be healthy.

Below are my 7 simple tips to eating healthy on a budget:

1. Purchase frozen or tinned vegetables and fruit

Frozen veg & fruits can be great money saving option. They are often cheaper than fresher varieties (1kg of frozen veg is roughly $3) They are also a convenient option, as they are already pre cut. They are quick and easy to prepare and can be used in a range of dishes. Better yet, they don’t go off, which reduces your overall food wastage and potentially save some extra money by not chucking food out.

2. Buy produce thats actually in season

Seasonal produce is much cheaper and tastes much better. Watermelon in winter? That is going to be very expensive and not taste the best. Stick to what is in season and build your meals around those ingredients. Other good options are purchasing “odd bunch” vegetables. They taste just as good and are often discounted because they don’t look “perfect.”

3. Purchase items such as grains in bulk

Ingredients such as oats, rice, flour, pasta and cereals are all inexpensive ingredients when purchased in bulk and go a long way (Opt for home brand varieties for even cheaper prices)

900g of home brand oats is $1.65

1kg of home brand rice is $1.40

4. Go for legumes

Home brand canned beans are roughly 80c per tin. A great inexpensive way to fill up your meals, add flavour and essential nutrients like protein, fibre and low GI carbohydrates. Use them in soups, curries/dhal, pasta/ rice dishes, make dips etc.

5. Plan your meals

Planning your meals for the week in advance can save you a lot of time and money. Before you go to the supermarket, plan the meals you would like to eat throughout the week and generate your shopping list from this. Be sure to look at what you already have available in your pantry / fridge and try to build it around that.

6. Learn how to prepare simple and healthy basics

Options such as stir fry, dhal, curry and pasta can go a long way. If you have 3-4 simple recipes on rotation using the same bulk ingredient (ie: Legumes) this can help to reduce the cost overall.

7. Cook in large batches

Cook large batches of food like soups, stews, or casseoles and then freeze the leftovers for quick, healthy meals later in the week.

Affordable & healthy chickpea curry recipe:


1 tsp olive oil

4 pods green cardamon, crushed

1 medium onion diced

½ tsp turmeric

½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp ginger

1 large sweet potato (diced into cubes)

1 large carrot

1 bell pepper/capsicum

2 cups green beans (chopped)

1-2 cups salt reduced vegetable stock

1 can chickpeas

1-2 tbsp curry powder

1/2 cup lite coconut milk

Spring onions

Juice of 1 lemon

To serve: Brown Rice / Basmati Rice


1. Add oil to large pan. Add cardamom and saute for a minute. Add onions and saute over medium heat. Add the turmeric, cayenne, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

2. Add the vegetables, season with some salt and cover the pan. Turn the heat to low and let the vegetables cook about five minutes.

3. Add green beans, peppers and ½ cup of water or vegetable stock. Cover again and cook five more minutes.

4. Stir in the chickpeas, curry powder and another cup of vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a boil.

5. Add lite coconut milk and spring onions. Stir in the lemon. Serve

If you want to find out more about your individual requirements, book a consultation with Sprout Nutrition today and Melissa can assist you with a personalised diet plan.

Author: This blog post was written by Melissa D'Elia (APD) Book your free discovery call now to find out how Melissa can assist you. Book a consultation now

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your Dietitian or GP for individualised advice.

Copyright: 2023 Sprout Nutrition & Dietetics.

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