No Wellness Wankery

13: Surging grocery prices! How to eat healthily on a budget

June 16, 2022 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
13: Surging grocery prices! How to eat healthily on a budget
Show Notes Transcript

Grocery prices are really crazy at the moment. There are shortages and surging prices for basic ingredients.

What can we do to still eat healthily even while sticking to a budget? Studies have shown that the more meals you cook at home, the healthier you are. So even though grocery prices are climbing, your weekly shop will always be cheaper than those late night UberEats orders.

Let's keep it real. By making a few simple changes to how you eat and shop, you can save money off your shop without feeling the pinch.

P.s. Download my budget-friendly recipes here - 4 recipes all for under $4 a serve.

 Hey guys, and welcome to today's episode of No Wellness Wankery podcast. My name is Lyndi Cohen and I'm joined by my lovely co-host, Jenna D’Apice.

 Hello. I love to be here. We're talking all things wellness or wankery and something that has come up that we thought we just need to do an episode on,

 grocery prices at the moment, out of hand. Everyone's feeling it. It's crazy. It's really, things have shifted and it's hard to actually get in those healthy meals at the moment. So we're going to talk about it because I think the Dieticians Association came out and they said that a iceberg lettuce is more expensive than 10 chicken nuggets and I think since they released that, it's gone even more expensive. So if we can't be eating that fresh produce that costs so much, what should we be doing instead? So we're going to talk about some tips to help you eat healthier without spending lots of money. And I think one of the kind of key things we want to talk about is the fact that, yes, cooking more at home is still going to be a more affordable option compared to eating out. So even though grocery prices are more expensive, let's still cook at home more. There's some really cool research about people who cook at home more and how much healthier they are, irrespective of what their kind of cooking. Just generally, people who cook at home, healthier, weigh less, all that kind of stuff. So cooking at home, I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I get into a pattern of cooking the exact same thing. And what ends up happening then is you buy the same ingredients regardless of the season. So you might go, well I always get cucumbers and tomatoes and avocados and it's the middle of winter here and I'll be telling you those are not in season at the moment and we end up just paying a whole lot more money because we get stuck buying the exact same things. So when you go to the grocery shops, try and mix up what you're shopping for and let the ingredients inform what you're going to cook. So what you're going to look for is what's in season and look for what's in special. Is it coming from the country where you live? So for us, is it from Australia and is it on special? That's going to probably mean that it's in high volume of it at the moment and therefore you're going to be getting it for a whole lot cheaper. Then you can take that ingredient home and be like, okay, what can we cook with this?

 This is it. I always struggle with that because sometimes I like to have the recipe I want to do beforehand and then I go to the grocery shop with my list. But then if I think, oh, this is on special, then I have to re-go backwards and try to think of things on the spot when very much I'm like, I just want to stick to my list.

 I would go the other way around. So a lot of people do do this. We take our recipe and then we go work out what to buy. I personally reverse engineer it. I go to my grocery shop first, get all the stuff, and then I'm like, okay, cool, what are we going to create with the stuff? That said, I have a really well-stocked pantry. So my entire pantry is constantly pretty full with all the basics and all the flavoring, so I'm barely needing to rush out and grab anything last minute. And you just have enough frozen produce as well.

 You can twist things around.

 Yeah, you can twist things, get enough whole grains on hand, you can always make things


 So give that a go where you see if you do it the other way around and then you can always find recipes that sit in with what you're doing and do the swaps a little bit later.

 So in terms of like obviously in Australia, we're winter going into the colder months, things like cucumber, tomato, the things that I very highly lean on, what are the type of winter type vegetables we should be having?


 Yeah, pumpkin at the moment. So I've been recently going to the markets to go get my groceries. And what I find very interesting about shopping at the markets is there is no out of season produce because if it's not coming from within a 100-kilometer radius, then the market's not selling it. And as a result, I can see clearly what is in season. There's not a lot of fruit in season at the moment. It's like mandarins and apples and pears.

 Yeah, pears.

 I've been having some pears.

 That's kind of where we're at at the moment. That's limited. So if you're buying other fruit than that, it's probably going to be quite expensive. So whether it's a banana, even those grapes I think are in season at the moment. So just finding those little things that are in season, but it might only be two or three or four different types of fruit at the moment. And that's okay. You're going to get okay with that. The rest of the stuff can be frozen or tinned produce, which we'll talk about in a little bit. But the vegetables we're going for at the moment is broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, pumpkin, and potatoes, and sweet potato, bok choys and seasons, those green kind of, everything that's cookable. I think that's kind of interesting. So all of this fresh food, the stuff that you have to make in salads, that's really expensive at the moment. But going for that more hearty kind of vegetable that has to be cooked, that is a little bit cheaper. Right. And I think it kind of does work out quite nicely for us because at the moment you can buy a whole bunch of frozen vegetables because you're going to end up cooking them. They're not getting thrown and tossed into a salad. Right now it's winter, you're going to want stuff that is warming that's already been cooked. So here's something you need to know. Frozen food is just as healthy as fresh stuff. So these days the way that they do it is they snap freeze it which means all the nutrients get locked in. In fact, it might even sometimes have more nutrients because it's locked in at the time of freezing as opposed to all the commute that it has to do to kind of wind up. By the time it gets to you. Exactly. And so it's locked in, you cook it and it's going to be fantastic. It is so much cheaper. And so I will constantly have frozen peas, corn, carrot, broccoli. I have frozen onions always. I have all the frozen berries because I can't afford normal berries. And so you need to kind of have that freezer stocked ready to go. And you throw them into whatever you're making, and meat is still going to be something that's quite expensive. So typically it's the most expensive thing we can be doing. You can go vegetarian, you can go flexitarian, but generally I think it's a good idea just to eat less meat. Now key to eating less meat is getting over carb phobia. If you fear carbohydrates, then you think, well, I'm only allowed to have meat and vegetables. That's a very expensive way to be living. Carbohydrates can be incredibly healthy for you. They are kind of a core part of your diet, and you can mix up the different kinds of carbohydrates that you have. But if you feel that potatoes are a fattening food and that you can't eat rice at night, maybe that's a limiting factor that you need to get over so that you can actually save more money and eat healthily at the same time.

 Which is very important right now. It's definitely a hard one to get over. Once you do this, so many more meals you can cook if you're not afraid of carbohydrates.

 There are so many more meals.

 And cheaper meals. I made a big veggie pasta that I had for a few lunches this week. When you just have to have meat and vegetables for every single meal, you're right, it's

 very expensive. Fish and vegetables. It's very expensive to buy into that wellness wankery idea that there is only one way to eat. That's what it comes down to. We have this idea that just because right now, du jour, what's popular is this high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that that's the way to be healthy. But there are people all around the world, particularly in these blue zones who eat much higher amounts of carbohydrates than what this current low-carb diet is all about. They live long, they live healthily. In fact, people who are vegetarian, they tend to be healthier, have less disease rates, and they tend to weigh less. I think there's kind of something very interesting about that because these, you know, a vegetarian has to be okay with eating carbohydrates, otherwise there's just not enough food for them to eat.

 Yeah, there's not.

 So I want you to challenge that idea that I'm not allowed to eat carbohydrates because there are so many beautiful whole grains out there and vegetables that are starchier that you can add into your diet that are going to help bulk it out so you feel full and you can end up using a little bit less meat. One of the things I like to do is if I'm going for meat right now, mince is a really affordable option and what I like about mince is you can really stretch it. So let's say I'm making a bolognese. I would say I have tins and tins of tomatoes in my bolognese, I have tins of lentils and legumes and I think legumes are one of the things that are so good for thinning out how much meat you actually need. They add so much fiber and everything up. They bulk everything out. They're really good for your gut. Okay, really good and I think we're fundamentally under eating them. You were saying before about like how cheap they

 are as well. Yeah, you can get, I was obviously you can just get a tin for like 80 or 90 cents which is crazy but also

 if you want to go to the effort to cook them you can get a big bag like kilos and kilos of these which would last you a long time for like $5. Yeah, three kilos for $5. You soak them and I know that's going to be a lot more effort personally I'll probably stick with just the tins but that option is there. The option is there. And you can do things like you you can get the whole bags and you can cook them. And what I used to do is I'd cook them and then I'd freeze them in little containers. So you basically have your ready-to-go microwavable rice. You just saved a whole lot of money doing it.

 There is a lot. And I think there's also a little bit, not like meal prepping to extreme, but if you do a little bit of a meal prep during the week for the rest of the week. Sometimes I find it saves me from going out and buying lunches that I would have normally just gone out and buy because you have a meeting and it runs over and you can't, you'd run out of time. So that little bit of prep on like a Monday making your lunch can save me a little bit of money during the week. And it doesn't need to like bleed into your weekend. No, we're not doing that. We're not giving up our Sunday afternoons to

 meal prep. We're not. No, we're not about that life. But if you're going to cook dinner on a Monday night anyway, double the recipe and so you're going to have more for the coming week and that becomes your lunches. Or you don't even have to do that. Every time you do cook dinner though, always double it so you always have lunch for the next day. One of the things I think is really important to notice is that food waste is a huge loss to your budget. And so I think it's one in five grocery bags that we buy from the shops ends up in waste. That's like such a huge loss to our grocery bill that we're currently just-

 One in five of the food.

 Yeah, that's a huge amount of food that we're wasting because we're forgetting about it and it's such a waste of money. And it's not good for the environment either. So one thing we can do is create an eat now tray. So I don't know about you, but if things are like at the bottom of my fridge, they're in, especially if they're in the drawers, I forget they exist. I do not know they are there and the problem

 is that's where all my fresh produce is. I do this, when I come home from the grocery shop I get everything out of the crisper and put it on a shelf above and I put the new stuff in the crisper and you eat the stuff at the top. Okay this

 is exactly what I'm talking about. So you're basically restructuring your fridge so that the stuff that you need to use first is at eye level and it's obvious this becomes your eat now tray. Yes. And that way we're reducing our food waste. But another thing you can do if you find that you are often wasting your food without doing this whole process is don't put it into the crisper section. The whole idea of those boxes is that it helps us keep the food fresher for longer. But if you're forgetting it exists and it's going to waste anyway, well then it's pointless. Rather just keep it out and keep your meats and your eggs and your dairy foods in those sections because you're always going to go get them. And then your entire fridge can also be very colourful and beautiful. And that just might be a nice smart solution to help you reduce your food waste. Another thing you mentioned in a previous episode, which also kind of comes back to linking saving money, when you're getting yoghurt, if you just always are kind of looking around and getting the yoghurts on special, you're getting different things, trying different ones, better for your gut, trying different things, and not just buying the one that's really expensive when it's not on sale. Yes, exactly. So to reiterate, this is our whole idea that there is only one brand that's perfect and good enough and healthy enough for me to be eating, but that's not true. What we want to be doing is going for variety, changing up what we eat depending on the seasons and what's on sale at the moment. So allow yourself to kind of try new things. It's going to be a fun thing to do as well to see what's, you know, to not just eat the exact same food all the time. And you can apply this to different categories and just shop the specials and try to find new things that you do like.

 I think it's really fun to shop the specials because I know at my grocery shop there is a section where everything is on sale in that little section. And you go in and like mussels were like 80 cents for like a packet and we're like, how do you ever think to eat mussels? And they're on sale, let's have that tonight. Can we talk about mussels? I love mussels.

 Mussels are great. Mussels are mussels. We're talking about the crustacean or the mollusk? I don't know what the definition is. Sea creature. Sea creature. That comes in the shell and you can buy an entire bag of them for like $8 is typically what you're going to get them for. These ones were like, we had to have them for dinner that night. Which you're going to do. And you basically cook them in a whole bunch of like tin tomatoes with some onions and lots of flavoring and you serve them with some delicious sourdough and it is a high-protein, delicious tasting, yummy affordable meal that you get to have seafood for dinner. Anyway, don't forget about that as an option is all I'm saying. In the Mediterranean, they're definitely eating that kind of food. Just to bring it home, I want you to know that in my pantry, I have an entire shelf of tinned food, one entire shelf where I have all the legumes, I have all the tomatoes, that stuff stays and it is pretty cheap and affordable and every time I'm cooking I'm adding in at least two tins of this stuff to whatever I'm cooking. So some favorites that I have at the moment in my household and you can find them on my app which is Back to Basics. We've recently been adding a few more budget friendly options. We also have a filter on the app called budget-friendly so you can just like toggle to find all the budget-friendly recipes or if you go to the grocery shops you have all your ingredients you can just come to the app search by ingredients and find a recipe that's gonna like suit whatever you're trying to cook. Anyway, some of the stuff I'm currently loving at the moment is like we're making this fried rice for my son and he loves it so it's like fried rice, frozen peas, corn, carrot mix and some minced meat and you add in lentils and you can add tomato, you can add in, you can make a Mexican version of it, you can make it more Asian. We're doing like a sautéed chicken one at the moment and it's just such a nice balanced meal because you're getting your veggies, your carbs, your protein and it's quick, it's easy, it's reheatable, it's freezable, all these delicious things. And it's like three or four dollars per serve and you

 can just get a lot of mileage out of this bad boy. This is the recipes we need No, everything needs to be complicated I was in the stage where I needed to be getting all this Villa to salmon every week and that's the expensive way to eat, but now I do things what the recipe I'm really loving I'm liking like the pasta bakes on back to basics. There's these baked ziti It's so easy It's like get your pasta or your veggies mix around some sauce and like cook it in the oven with cheese on top Yeah, it's always going to be delicious. It's so easy. It's so easy to take a slice of it to lunch, to work for lunch.

 It's great. Yeah, and I think this is just the key thing for us to realize is that the wellness world sells us this idea that food has to be complicated and that we need to be ingesting lots of superfoods in order to be healthy. And I call wellness wankery on that. So can we just go through some of the wanky shit that you don't need to be healthy? I'm going to throw in the ring, I'm going to throw protein powder into the ring because I think protein powder is one of the things you absolutely, that is such a waste of money. You said it. Or you just don't need it. You do not need it. Firstly, protein powder is highly processed. I don't even know what are the ingredients in protein powder. It doesn't resemble a protein and weird like a sweetener stuff and flavorings. It's just something you need. You can drink milk, you can get your, which you're going to get your calcium from. So if you need to find ways to save money, you can save money on that. The other thing are things like you know fancy supplements that haven't been proven like things like collagen. That's a lot of money to be spending right there on something that is completely got no evidence to back it up as something that works. The point is you don't need to eat berries and fancy weird powders and even walk in the health food aisle. I don't even go down that aisle. You can just get tins of stuff and frozen produce and that is an incredibly healthy way to eat.

 So it's not all doom and gloom.

 Thank goodness. And it's a lot more carbohydrate than you probably think it is.

 You'll feel great after eating it.

 Oh, and can I just say, I did ask a question on my Instagram a few weeks ago where I asked what's like some diet rules that you have. And fundamentally, the one that came back the most often was I'm only allowed to eat people who thought they're only allowed to eat carbohydrates once a day or that they couldn't have it. If they had it for lunch, they can't then have it for dinner or they have to stop eating. There was lots of rules around carbohydrates. And I just want to reiterate, you can eat carbohydrates at every single meal. You are allowed to eat carbohydrates. In fact, I think it's a really good thing for you to be having. The key is to mix it up. So don't just have the exact same carbohydrates all the time. One day for lunch you have pasta, have brown rice the next day, try some quinoa, throw some beans in there, just constantly varying it up, have fun with it and save money at the same time.

 And all those recipes, you can head back to basics. You can do a trial if you're keen on the recipes. I have personally loved them and I'm sure you will too. So many easy meal prep, budget-friendly ones, so many veggies.

 Yeah, and if you want to get 20% off Back to Basics, then head to my website, and you go to Back to Basics and you use the code PODCAST.

 That's the one.

 So you get 20% off.

 All right, guys. I hope you found this episode useful. Also, on my website, you can get four recipes under $4 just for free through a little e-book that I've put together. So you can head to my website and go find that. Anyway, thank you for listening to today's episode. Love it. If you can leave us a review, please, and send us any questions you want at nude underscore nutritionist and we can answer them on the podcast. Do you feel like you know what you should be eating but you feel completely out of control with food? You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge. Well, if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code PODCAST when you check out via the website. And because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money-back guarantee because you know what? You've just got to give these things a go, no risk. You've just got to give these things a go, no risk. Give it a try.