Healthy eating on a budget

With the price of food rising, eating healthily while trying to stick to a budget can be challenging. But with a little planning and some useful tips, buying and preparing delicious healthy food on a budget is not as hard as it may seem!

Before you hit the supermarket sit down and write a shopping list. This will help stop you buying items you don’t need. Check out the recipes from Smart Eating – many are both delicious and cheap. Remember you can always cook more than you need and freeze the rest for another meal.

Is healthy food more expensive?

If you’ve ever thought that eating healthy is more expensive, then you’re not alone! Take a closer look at the foods you buy – sometimes processed foods are actually more expensive.

Shop for fresh foods where possible, or in the case of fruit and vegetables, see if frozen and canned varieties are cheaper. This will help lower your grocery bill and help to keep your trolley full of healthy foods.

Check out the price differences below


A serve of potato is one medium potato – or 150g:

  • Potatoes per 150g = 50c
  • Frozen chips per 150g = 70c
  • Potato chips per 150g = $3.75

Breakfast products

A serve of cereal is 1/4 cup of muesli, 2/3 cup of breakfast flakes or 1/2 cup cooked porridge – or roughly 30g:

  • Rolled oats per 30g = 15c
  • Corn flakes per 30g = 60c
  • muesli/cereal bar per 30g = $1.50


A serve of chicken is 100g (raw):

  • Frozen whole chicken per 100g = 60c
  • Raw whole chicken per 100g = 66c
  • BBQ chicken per 100g = 80c
  • Pre-made chicken kebabs per 100g = $1.70


  • Apple per 100g = 0.60c
  • Packet of sultanas per 40g = 0.50c
  • Fruit bar/strap 50g = $0.95
  • Chocolate bar per 50g = $2.15

You can buy twice the amount of apples for the same or less money as other snacks!

More Smart Eating Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

  • Buy all the basic foods such as breads, dairy, fruit, vegetables, cereals and meats first before considering snack foods, lollies, sweetened drinks or other treats.
  • Buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season
  • Try frozen or canned vegetables as these may be cheaper than fresh and will keep for longer avoiding food spoiling
  • Mix up your meals by including a vegetarian meal each week using eggs or lentils – cheap and nutritious
  • Buy generic brands (‘no name’, ‘home brand’ etc) where possible
  • Add some canned kidney beans, lentils (or other legumes) to mince dishes or stews to make the meal go further
  • Buy bulk items that will last, such as oats, rice, pasta and baked beans
  • Stop and think if you really need the novelty packaging. If you don’t need the storage container then try to pick the foods in plain packaging
  • Don’t shop when you are hungry as you are more likely to buy things you don’t need
  • Be supermarket savvy and watch out for items on ‘special’ as sometimes the price isn’t reduced
  • Check supermarket catalogues for specials and identify any products that you need before you go shopping
  • Buy block cheese and grate it yourself


For individual advice about your diet and healthy eating plans contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

*Food product prices obtained from Coles online in 2017.