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Organic, free-range, locally sourced. Foods with these on the label are being touted as the most healthy and most ethically produced grocery items out there. But with these labels also comes the risk of budget blow out. The average price of a dozen organic eggs is $13 compared with barn raised corn fed hen’s eggs at $3.25 a dozen.
So how do we stay healthy while still keeping on budget? Here are a few grocery shopping hacks that can help you stay healthy and on budget.
Shop at the grower or weekend market
Shopping at the local early morning market on a weekend will always save you burning a hole in your pocket.
The produce market growers can’t sell to a chain supermarket can sometimes have small blemishes or inconsistencies, for example slightly browned bananas or oversized pumpkins. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these fruits and vegetables. When growers can’t sell these to supermarkets they’ll often sell them at a reduced price at the weekend markets.
The produce available at a market or growers is always going to be fresher and offer a more diverse range of fruits, vegetables, herbs and seasonals than are offered at your regular supermarket. Why? Because it comes straight from the grower’s farm! Not only that, but markets are where a lot of cafes and restaurants shop. Many of those restaurants need to grab specialist menu items for their regional cuisines; particularly when it comes to things like masses of fresh herbs for curries and the like.
Buy in bulk
There are a lot of great ways to buy in bulk. Asian food stores are known for their great selections of bulk imported items. Whether you’re after herbs and spices, rices and grains, or dried fruits, at these types of stores there’s always a good bargain to be had.
Statistics NZ found that households could cut costs in half by buying in bulk. And when 18% of your income, on average, is spent on food that 50% reduction looks very enticing.
Buy healthy alternatives to expensive ingredients
A lot of recipes call for expensive ingredients that can easily be swapped out for a more affordable, and equally as tasty, option. Often these alternatives can be a healthier choice, without straining the weekly shopping budget.
Here’s a list of easy recipe cheats. When a recipe calls for:
Use budget friendly healthy recipe ideas
All Kiwis love a good potato topped pie from the local bakery, but unfortunately our waistlines will suffer if we dive into them too often. But never fear, if you can’t bear the thought of giving up your Pie Day Friday or weekend fish n chips, then here are some ways to make them a little healthier.
Download our free Good Life Guide. It has a great range of practical tips on staying healthy.