Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Fruit And Vegetables Are Cheap To Eat.

Have you seen the news reports and tv shows claiming that fruit is too dear to buy ?    So many times over the years the media tells us that low income families can't afford to buy fruit and vegetables and that junk food is a cheaper option.  WHAT ROT  !!!!

Darren and I always shake our heads at the tv.  We firmly tell the tv that we've always been able to afford to eat healthy.  It's probably quite comical to watch us talking to a tv but I get so frustrated.  There is no excuse for poor shopping habits.  There is enough information available to educate us about the health benefits of fruit and vegetables.

For starters,  it's what our body knows.  They are whole foods created to nourish our bodies.  Fruit and vegetables are full of anti oxidants,  vitamins and minerals.  They provide fibre to keep us regular which in turn gets rid of the toxins in our bodies.   I know I'd much rather get my vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables than from a multi - vitamin.

Yes,  at times some fruits and vegetables can be expensive.  The trick is to avoid buying them just because you want them.  Here's what I do to reduce my fruit and veg bill -

*  Look at your menu plan and write a list of items needed.

*  Take a detailed shopping list with you when you shop.  Specify what you need and how many.

*  If some items are too expensive,  be prepared to substitute or go without.  Bananas are a great example of this.  Their price can range from 79 cents a kilo up to $5.99 a kilo with no real reason for the price changes.  When they are too dear I buy a few extra apples or find something else.

*  Know your prices.  I won't pay more than $2.99 a kilo for bananas,  apples and grapes.

*  Buy in season.  It sounds obvious but I see so many people buying strawberries in Winter for $5.99 a punnet.  In Summer they can be under $1.  Buying in season means you are buying better quality and the nutrients are at their best.

*  Pick your fruit and veg over.  Do not buy soft fruit unless you are going to eat it that day.

*  Potatoes are always cheaper by the bag.  Check the inside of the bag to make sure they are not green.

*  Fruit and veg shops are almost always cheaper than supermarkets.

*  Check the bargain table at your fruit and veg shop.  Only buy reduced items if you can use them withing a few days.

*  Grow your own.  Even if you only grow lettuce in a pot this could save you $50 - $100 a year.  Lettuce costs on average $1.99 each.  Buy one a week and you are up for $103.48 per year.  A packet of seeds costs about $3 and lasts a few years.

*  When vegetables are cheap,  buy lots,  blanch and freeze for future meals.

This fruit haul cost  $9.88 and lasted one week.  That's $2.47 per person per week or 35 cents per person per day.  You can't quite see every piece of fruit in the photo but there was plenty to eat each day.

I can't think of any store bought snack that only costs 35 cents per serve that is as healthy,  nutritious
and filling.  Can you ?


  1. It's feijoa season at the moment, my neighbours tree is providing us and the possums free fruit. But I often see other peoples with the fruit left to rot on the ground.
    Waiting as my lemon tree ripens only the second lemon of the season.

    Eating seasonally also provides your body with the variety of F & V it needs across the four seasons. K

    1. Ohhh, I wouldn't mind living near you. I love feijoas. We have two small trees. One has two fruit on it as it's the first season it's fruited. I can't wait to taste them again.

      I've just picked our first lemons for this season. It's always exciting to pick your own.

      Could you ask your neighbours if you can take some of the fruit in exchange for a cake or jar of jam ? Annabel from The Bluebirds are Nesting blog does this and she gets an abundance of fruit.

  2. Local markets are a great source if seasonal fruit and veg at affordable prices. You can also pick up products unique to your area. I bought 10 Bunya Nuts for$1. There was enough nut product to make up a really delicious pesto for hubby and I. Eating good fruit and veg is not difficult nor expensive.

    1. Local markets can be good but you need to be careful of prices as the can be on the expensive side. I guess you'd have to know your prices.

  3. Once again, sound advice and you make it sound like the common sense it is!

  4. Love this post Wendy!! You are so right, i'd much rather eat healthy fruit and veg than any nasty pre-packaged meals or takeaway! Whenever i do eat this stuff on an occasion, my body doesn't seem to like it and i always feel quite sick afterwards.

    Wendy im wondering whether you could do an Easter post for us readers?
    Some tips on cheap gifts, and what to make for an Easter lunch or dinner?


  5. This is such an important post Wendy and I really congratulate you on raising the subject for discussion. I have posted in the past about the cost of convenience food and fast food. It's not that fast or convenient for a start. It often uses inferior ingredients made to give us the illusion of satisfaction by being loaded with sugar, fat and salt. It's never cheap and people don't think twice about buying their children a happy meal, but complain about the price of bananas. I don't get it. I do my best to feed us primarily from the fruit shop, only heading to the supermarket for what is absolutely necessary to top that up. The week before last, all I needed from Coles, was chicken breasts and mince. And it was a frugal food shop that week. Under $100 for 3 meals, snacks and treats for three of us. And we ate well all week. No skimping or eating rice and pasta and filling up on carbs. All healthful salads, stir fries, a mushroom ragout one night and so on. Snacks were baked ricotta on cucumber rounds, drained yoghurt mini banana splits, cherry tomatoes and home made pesto, muesli parfaits, all very yummy. So you are singing my song! Mimi xxx

  6. I had to laugh Wendy - my daughter is turning 5 tomorrow so my trolley this morning at IGA had softdrink and lollies in it (items we don't normally buy) for her small party tomorrow night and I had an embarrassed laugh with the cashier about its contents:) I have spent my morning baking Mimi Mama's chocolate birthday cake for the party and cupcakes for her to take to preschool tomorrow. They may not be the height of healthy eating - but at least I know what is in them.

    But back to the fruit and veg issue. I agree that the markets are not always the cheapest place to find fruit and veg. We live in a country town so don't have access to a fruit and veg shop - I shop at Aldi for the most part and top-up on anything else at WW or IGA if they have a better price than Aldi. I also buy the best priced fruit (I think that I read about a similar idea on the prudent homemaker blog) so this week we are eating Gala apples ($1.99/kg at IGA) and Packam pears (99c/kg at Aldi) - reminds me to stock up before I pick the kids up at preschool as prices changeover tonight! In the summer we are fortunate to have a fruit growing region about an hour drive away - we go out about every 3-4 weeks and buy their seconds fruits which are usually priced at around the $1.50 per kilo mark. As a bonus our kids actually know where their food comes from and they have developed a great relationship with our fig/plum supplier who lets them pick their own fruit when we visit.

    We have our own fruit trees planted on our property as well as berry bushes. They were only planted 18 months ago, so we are still waiting for fruit!

    1. Do you have raspberry plants ? We got fruit from ours within about 4 5 months. They are so worth growing if you can.

  7. Goodness me if we ate junk food all the time we would be broke.... oh and pretty sick lol

    I got a bag of bananas for $1 yesterday ...huge bag of 'getting to be over ripe' bananas but today I will freeze the lot ready for banana breads etc. Fruit is cheap if you look around. With the $1 bag of bananas I got a bag of ten huge apples, one of which was ripe so we had it for desert last night in homemade caramel sauce. The rest of them are perfect and will keep us in fruit for the next fortnight (with what we have left over in our fridge).

    Your post goes into the planning of menus and meals and I agree it is the most important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately there are those out there who actually do not know where to look for the correct information about diets and even fewer people willing to brave the abuse dished out when someone tries to teach them. So many people are offended when someone tries to teach them some basic knowledge and they refuse to change their ways. They believe they are being criticized and until this fear of criticism is dealt with it will be difficult. I believe the way to reeducate society of all economical levels would be to start by reintroducing home economics back into our school systems... we seem to have failed a generation by taking the compulsory classes out of some schools curriculum's. Lack of appropriate education would be the main reason people eat more junk food than fresh food not cost.... sorry just my opinion...

    1. Yes, if only home eco ( now known as food tech ) was a compulsory subject

  8. I have to be honest - I’ve struggled with this since cutting our food bill in last 2 months. Because I haven’t had a well-stocked pantry, I have initially spent more on staples to get me started. I see it is a learning curve because I know it can be done. I just need to adjust and be savvier with $$. I have found it pretty easy to buy good well-priced fruit.

    But once my pantry & freezer builds up I want to buy extra vegetables because I have bulked up our meals with pasta, rice and potato to meet the budget. I don’t see any shame in that because they are still home cooked balanced meals (no junky takeaway, or treats for us)…but as I’m learning more about kg prices, eating in season, good specials, stocking up on basics…I think I can get a better balance. I am also going to try growing lettuce because I love salad.
    Thanks Wendy. Tina

    1. Another frugal way to " bulk " a meal is with beans and legumes- lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc. I never make a curry without a tin of chickpeas, and chilli without kidney beans - not in my family, my husband always wants extra beans. Full of Fibre and Protein. And usually $1 a can. Or cook your own and freeze in 1 cup portions. K

    2. Good on you for wanting to learn.

  9. Wendy this is a funny one. I so agree with you. You can get a bag of chips that weighs nothing! for $3 or a kilo of potatoes. A kilo of vegies for the price of a bit bottle of soft drink!
    I work on the $3 a kilo rule. I usually have plenty of choices. It forces you to have a year round variety which is healthier as variation is good. I have heard of people spending $50 a week on vegies which is admirable but I would expect 16 kilos of produce for that! mmm I guess we can use a few kilos a week but not 16!
    I think something that has added to this idea is that foods have advertising campaigns. Like berries had a big campaign and yes they are very healthy. But they are expensive so if thats not affordable buy apples or pears or what is. You have to be practical. Prices on everything are expensive but if you watch, get seasonal bargains and shop around then fruit and vegies here are reasonable. That doesnt mean I dont see crazy prices! I do! I just move on! Remember when bananas got to $18 a kilo after a cyclone? And recently cauliflowers and broccoli have been $7 each and $7 a kilo... BUT eventually I will see them both at under $3 a kilo again and I will buy up big! Meantime lettuces are cheap, cucumbers, pears and apples. Also I got carrots on a good price.
    We dont buy junk food. We cant afford it health or money wise.

  10. Thanks so much for your tip K - I really appreciate that. Good thinking! Tina

  11. I'm so glad I've found this blog. As a former Kiwi/Aussie, now living in NY - I love reading this - and it reminds me of all the great things I'm missing. I mostly miss the down to earth nature of the people and the easygoing life - all the things that this blog encompasses!!! It's funny, but I still check the Woolies and Cole's online catalogs - and as you can imagine, Aussie food is just not found here.

    Keep the great blog posts coming, I'm loving the frugal tips. I'm a Mum of two little ones, I work very part time. One salary just doesn't go far in these parts. So I'm doing my very best to keep us going.

    Shannon in NY.

    1. Welcome Shannon. My parents visit America every few years. They love the country but really miss the good wholesome Aussie food. No wonder you check the online catalogues.

  12. Reading these comments, and I think Annabel touched on this point, junk food is not only expensive period, but eating a steady amount of it damages our health. We become nutrition starved, our resistance to viruses and sickness is reduced, and junk food just makes a person feel icky. The end result is not only the upfront cost of this junk, but the medical costs of our illnesses! When I grab some chips--which I do now and then--I hear that little voice... "empty calories!"


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