Top tips for eating well on a budget

Posted 28 Feb 2022.

100 dollar trolley - LL

With the cost of groceries increasing and the current shortages in WA supermarkets making it more difficult to shop the specials, we know that people are feeling the pinch.

So, how can you maintain a healthy diet during these tough times?

1. Plan your meals

Planning your meals can save time and money and reduce stress. It can also mean being less tempted to buy takeout during the week when your resources are lower. With the current shortages it's important to be flexible with your meal plan though... which leads us to point 2.

2. Smart swaps

If you're getting frustrated because you can't find a specific ingredient for the recipe you've decided to cook, first take a deep breath. Recipes are just made up - and you - yes you - can make one up too.

The trick to swapping (or dropping) ingredients is understanding what job they're doing in a dish, and finding something that you already have that can do the same thing. It (obviously) won't be the same but it'll probably still be good! Most of the time you can swap proteins (e.g. beef for chicken or tofu), starches (e.g. pasta for rice or barley) and mix and match your vegies.

3. Make a shopping list

Have a look through your pantry and fridge and write down the items you actually need. Just remember that you may have to be ready to ‘pivot' to an alternative ingredient if you can't find it in store.

4. Avoid shopping hungry

Hunger can drive us to purchase foods that are higher in fat and sugar and are more highly processed. Steering clear of the sugary drink and chocolate aisles can also make it easier to keep these out of the trolley.

5. Follow the 60/30/10 rule when grocery shopping

Spending more of your food dollars on healthy foods can save you money at the checkout. The 60/30/10 rule is a useful guide you can follow when doing your weekly shop to keep your food budget in check.

LL trolley

6. Use unit prices to find the best deal

Unit pricing helps us compare the price of products when they come in different sized packets. It helps us tell which items are the best value, not just the cheapest.

7. Try out the home brands

These are often much cheaper and are just as good quality as branded versions. This is especially true for products with only a few ingredients, like tinned tomatoes or rolled oats. The home brands might not always be available with the current shortages, but they're a great option when you can find them!

8. Cook at home

Fresh food, and food you can make at home is often cheaper and healthier than highly processed packaged and takeaway foods.

9. Reroute pester power

Give kids a mission to collect a specific item while grocery shopping. Busy kids have less time to nag!

10. Choose seasonal and locally grown produce

Fresh fruit and vegies taste the best and are usually on special when they're in season. While many sections of the supermarket have been looking a little bare at the moment, the produce section has been consistently packed with colourful and affordable fruits and vegies to fill your trolley.

11. Bulk out meals with plants

Add extra vegies to a stir-fry, replace half the mince in a Bolognese with tinned or dried lentils or send your burger sky high with extra salad.

12. Reduce food waste

Food waste is a major problem in Australia, with 7.6 million tonnes of food thrown away each year (equal to 312kg per person). Reducing how much food ends up in the bin is not only good for the environment, it's also good for our back pocket.


A healthy diet doesn't have to be expensive. The healthiest foods are everyday staples without fancy packaging or heavy marketing. Including healthy foods like oats, seasonal fruit and veg, frozen veg, tinned beans and brown rice in your weekly shop will help you stick to your food budget, and fill plates and tummies too.

For more information

• Visit LiveLighter for more healthy eating tips and tricks

Found in:  News - 2022 | View all news