Do you know you should aim to have at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables or legumes each day?
Nutrition Australia has devised the healthy eating pyramid which is a simple guide on the types of food and proportion we should eat every day for good health.
The three foundation layers of the pyramid comprise vegetables and legumes, fruits and grains.
It also recommends that water should be the main drink for all meals. Sugary, soft and energy drinks should be avoided. Cut back on salt and sugar as too much salt can lead to increased risks of high-blood pressure and too much sugar can increase your risk to type 2 diabetes.
So how do families stick to a healthy eating pyramid on a budget?
This is what Nutrition Australia suggest: “Spend most of your money on foods from the plant-based food groups like fruit, vegetables, legumes and grain foods.
“This should be followed by foods in the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives food group and the lean meat, poultry, fish eggs, seeds food group and small amounts of unsaturated fats.’’
Consumer rights group Choice says that shopping around for specials and choosing private label over leading brands can make a “significant” difference to one’s food bills.
While finding the balance between good nutrition and value for money is often a challenge, here are 11 tips:
* Plan your meals for the week so that you only buy what is needed.
* Buy in bulk foods that you eat a lot of including food that can be stored such rice, pasta, tomato sauce, canned food and bread.
*Buy meat in bulk, divide into portions and freeze for later use
* Shop around and compare the prices of brands you like and those you are less familiar with. Try generic or private label brands as they are cheaper.
* Explore other cheaper supermarket alternatives. Perhaps, try shopping at Aldi or Costco instead of Coles or Woolworths.
* Use cost per 100g to compare products and not the cost per item.
* Buy fruit and vegetables which are in season – they are always cheaper and fresher.
* Pay attention to weekly specials at supermarkets. Shop later in the day and look out for additional marks downs.
* Look out for food items below or above eye level on supermarket shelves. This is because cheaper foods are often placed outside of your eye level
* Buy all your basic food items such as bread, dairy, fruit and vegetables first. This means that you get all your essentials you need without spending extra on non-essential items
* Try not to shop when you are hungry as you will tend to buy more.