How to eat healthy without breaking the bank

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There is a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive. Take away is considered cheap and fast food outlets are literally around every street corner so it’s no surprise that Australia is fast becoming one of the fattest nations in the world. Research shows that the average Australian eats out four times a month with 55.1 million visits to fast food restaurants recorded every month. Common sense tells you that a greasy burger with a side of chips is no substitute for a healthy home-cooked meal yet we still give in to the temptation and convenience of fast food. While eating fast-food may seem affordable in the short-term, a poor diet can have serious implications for your health in the long run.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and it definitely doesn’t have to be expensive so here are some ways you can save money at the check-out and reap the rewards of healthy eating:

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it

Planning ahead is the number one rule. Make sure you have a meal plan set out for the week ahead and buy ingredients accordingly. Jotting down what you need on a piece of paper is a good way to ensure that you don’t deviate from your meal plan and saves you from making unhealthy food choices in a rush. However, if you still think temptation will get the better of you while shopping for your groceries then steer clear of the junk food aisles altogether!

2. Never shop on an empty stomach

Okay, so we’re all guilty of this: you’re strolling through the supermarket and shoving everything in sight into the trolley because you haven’t eaten all day. At this point your judgment is impaired by this overwhelming urge to satisfy your hunger and everything seems like a necessity (especially anything that is deep-fried or drenched in sugar). Remember that shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Ever.

3. Buy in bulk

No, I don’t mean junk food. Have you ever wondered why junk food is always on sale? Well, because it’s mass produced, lacking nutrients and full of nasty stuff (preservatives, additives and colourings) that your body just doesn’t need. When I say ‘buy in bulk’- I mean seasonal fruit and veggies that are on sale. Seasonal produce is usually plentiful and less expensive than produce that isn’t in season. Try to stay away from pre-sliced, pre-prepared fruits and veggies because while they may offer convenience, they are usually more expensive.

4. Prepare your meals in advance

If you’re really short on time then cooking your meals in advance is a great option. Consider setting aside one day on the weekend to cook your meals for the week ahead. That way you can store individual portions in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will ensure that you’ll have plenty of healthy meals waiting in the fridge and help you save time on cooking during the weekdays.

While buying fresh produce and preparing nutritious meals can seem time consuming and costly, there are countless benefits of eating healthy that your body will thank you for later.

Do you have any tips on how you eat healthy without hurting the hip pocket? If so, please share!


Do you have a grabbable gut?

You don’t need a doctor to tell you that being overweight is unhealthy. But rather than focusing on the numbers on the scale, it is important to consider WHERE fat is located on your body when it comes to assessing your health risks. Over the past couple of years, the Heart Foundation has been running graphic ad campaigns around Australia trying to raise awareness about ‘grabbable guts’ or excess weight around the waist. These ads show that even if you are not overweight, having a ‘grabbable gut’ can be dangerous. Research shows that people with high amounts of fat around their abdomens- compared to other parts of the body- have a higher risk of developing health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This is because the amount of fat stored around your abdomen is usually indicative of fat surrounding your internal organs. Surprisingly, belly fat is a better indicator of your chances of developing T2 diabetes than your BMI (body mass index)- the ratio of weight to height. If you do have a grabbable gut don’t despair as there are simple things you can do to rid yourself of any excess baggage around your waist and improve your health in the long term.

What you can do:

Improve your diet: Losing weight around your mid-section is a great start to get your health back on track. The less fat you have around your waist, the lower your risks are of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You can start by avoiding sugary drinks, watching the types of fats that you eat and reducing your portion sizes. Eating the wrong foods puts unneeded calories into your body, which is then stored as fat.

Get some exercise: I say some because I know how hard it can be to get started and I think some exercise is better than none at all. Along with a healthy diet, exercise assists you in losing weight, improves mood, boosts energy and combats disease. The health benefits of physical activity are numerous and should not be underestimated. Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and simple modifications to your lifestyle can make a HUGE difference to your overall health!

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!

The lowdown on Type 2 Diabetes

Approximately 1.7 million people have diabetes in Australia. This figure includes all types of diagnosed diabetes as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Australia estimates that 280 people Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every single day. What’s even more alarming is that many Australians aren’t aware that they have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While these numbers are staggering, the good news is that type 2 diabetes is manageable and with a few lifestyle changes you can prevent or even delay the onset of the disease.

So what is diabetes?

Basically, diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (a kind of sugar) in the blood. Glucose is used as the body’s main source of energy and comes from foods that contain carbohydrates such as breads, cereals, pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables and milk. Once food is digested, glucose is released and absorbed into the bloodstream.

In order for our bodies to function properly, we need to convert glucose from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is needed in order to properly convert glucose into energy. Unfortunately, people with diabetes do not produce enough insulin to convert glucose into energy and, have higher than normal blood sugar levels.

About Type 2:

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting more than 85% of people with diabetes. While T2 Diabetes is most common in older people, more and more young people are being diagnosed with the condition, including children. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, people with T2 Diabetes still produce some insulin and usually do not need insulin injections to manage their condition. The most important thing to remember about T2 Diabetes is that it is preventable in most cases and easily managed with the right lifestyle choices.

 Are you at risk?

While there is no one cause for T2 Diabetes, there are well established risk factors- some which can be changed and others that cannot.

You are at a higher risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes if you:

  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are over the age of 45- the risk increases as we age.
  • are overweight- if you have a BMI greater than 25 and lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are at greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
  • are from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background OR,  from a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background
  • have a history of gestational diabetes- women who develop diabetes during pregnancy or deliver a baby over 4.5 kgs are at a greater risk of developing diabetes.

Check your risks by completing the AUSDRISK Assessment.diabetes-type-1-and-2-differences