Healthy eating can be difficult, especially now with the impact of rising food prices. Now more than ever it’s important to eat well to nourish your body with proper vitamins and nutrients.

We often think of food as fuel, but it’s also thinking about food as something emotional, social and pleasurable because we know that many people and cultures get social benefits out of food, making it a highlight of many people’s days. There’s also early evidence that poor nutrition may be a causal factor in the experience of low mood, and improving diet may help to protect not only our physical health but also the mental health of people.

You may be choosing food that is cost effective but not the most nutrient dense. To see whether you’re getting the most out of your food, ask yourself a few simple questions, such as:

  • Are you getting value for your cost?

  • Is the food you're choosing full of unnecessary calories or is it full of nutrients?

  • Is it truly satisfying?

Think about the long term benefits of eating healthy (such as improved energy and immunity boosts) versus the short term benefits of having something that’s cost effective but has barely any nutrients.

There are numerous ways where you can eat healthily without breaking the bank:

  • Eating seasonal food is a great start to healthy eating, so purchase anything that’s available at the moment as it’s going to be in high supply but at a lower cost.

  • Bulk cooking can be a good way to go if you’re short of time and money.

  • Frozen and canned foods can often be just as nutritiously adequate as fresh food and they last for longer periods of time.

  • Food delivery services such as Marley Spoon and Hello Fresh can often be more economical and due to the busy lives we lead, they can provide better accessibility to a healthy meal because it’s right there in front of you ready to cook. This way you don't have to come up with ideas, plan your meals and then go out and buy the ingredients for them, ultimately saving you time and energy. Go one step ahead and order pre-made meals from sources such as Youfoodz or ChefGood.

  • Using leftovers as much as you can is so important, as we have huge amounts of food waste in our society. Look in your fridge and pantry and try to plan ahead of time so that you're not buying up the entire aisle in the supermarket when you're hungry and you can't think of what to cook.

  • Packing a healthy lunch can help you avoid the temptations that can come from eating out everyday. Find a healthy meal you enjoy and prep it the night before, saving you time in the morning. You'll notice your savings increase as you reduce the amount of times you grab lunch on the go.

  • Even if you don't think you have a green thumb, growing your own produce is pretty simple. Seeds are cheap to buy and you'll be saving money in no time as you grow your own veggies and fruits, instead of relying on what's in-store.

Many people aren’t aware that they don't eat enough fruit and vegetables. Eating fruit, veggies and dairy are the food groups that people don't get enough of, and we instead eat heaps of meat and carbohydrates based food. The key to having a well rounded balanced diet, is planning and being aware of what your food groups are. It comes down to knowing what your core foods are, as some people are still not aware what a core food is, versus a discretionary food.

A core food is something like fruit and veggies, dairy, carbs and protein, while discretionary or enjoyment foods are things like chocolate, wine or chips for example. It’s also important that you’re making your diet realistic - It’s about being 80/20, so 80% core food groups and 20% of your enjoyment foods.

We don't expect people to eat perfectly 100% of the time as that’s not sustainable and not real life. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating has a comprehensive pie chart of how much of each food group you should be eating.

Related reading:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Written by Emily Facoory with input from Kiera Batten, BSc (Nutrition Dietetics Hons I) & BAppSc (Exercise Sport Science) from Sydney University. Accredited Practicing Dietitian for over ten years, and is a senior dietitian at the Children’s Hospital Westmead in Sydney. Kiera has recently commenced a Doctor of Philosophy in 2022 focusing on paediatric metabolics.

Information sourced from: Eat for Health, BMJ

Image credit: Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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