Before you leave the house:

  1. Plan meals for the week – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. Take stock of what you have in the freezer, fridge and pantry.
  3. With budget in mind, make your shopping list based on the gaps between what you have in the house and what you need for your meal plan.
  4. Even though you have a plan you may need to stay flexible – e.g if a fruit or vegetable in the organic section is close to use by date, substitute this in place of other fruit and vegetable and adapt your recipe. Similarly, you can often pick up good deals on organic meat which is close to expiration.
  5. Have something to eat – never shop hungry!
  6. Add more fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. You can get your 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for about the cost of a large takeaway coffee.
  7. Add beans and lentils to your meal plan. Pick beans and lentils (pulses) instead of meat for 2 or more dinners every week – lots of protein for less money
  8. Skip processed foods like frozen pizza, cookies and soft drinks. They usually cost more than fresh, healthy food

When you get to the shop:

  1. Try something new every shopping trip – a new cut of meat, a new fruit or vegetable or a new pulse.
  2. Shop the perimeter of the shop – spend the majority of your time and money in the fruit and vegetable area.
  3. Eat a rainbow – choose a wide range of fruit and vegetables of different colours – colours reflect the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient contents of the fruit and vegetables
  4. Don’t be seduced by marketing of food or deals on processed foods. Don’t hand your power over to marketing.
  5. Always choose the least processed version of foods – for example oats: steel cut oats are the least processed, so choose them first. They take longer to cook at home because less processing has happened at the mill.  Next choice would be rolled whole oats. Still a really good choice and quicker to prepare.  Then would come quick cook oats.  These are very quick to prepare but higher in glycemic index – this means they cause your blood sugar to spike more quickly, and leave you feeling hungry sooner.  Last choice is flavoured sweetened oats prepared in the microwave.  The health benefits of oats are now overshadowed by the sugar, flavours and fineness of the oats. Buying the least processed version will be a lot cheaper.
  6. Choose real food – would your grandmother have bought it? How close does it represent the food?  How many processing steps has it been through to get from the field to the supermarket?
  7. Don’t buy junk food for anyone in the house. If is in the house, it gets eaten.  If it isn’t in the house, it doesn’t get eaten.  Remember food is fuel, not to quell boredom
  8. Avoid foods with more than 5 ingredients, artificial ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce
  9. Buy locally produced food when possible
  10. Stock up on healthy foods with a long shelf life, especially when on special – rice, pulses, frozen foods
  11. Buy fruit and vegetable in season. It will be cheaper
  12. Packaged foods which can be good to have in your house include: organic frozen berries – for a smoothie to a sweet craving, frozen vegetables – big packs or individual packs, so there is never an excuse to have a meal without vegetables, canned salmon for some quick fish cakes.