• Laura Warren

Healthy tasty eating on a budget


Reader Request: My partner has been made redundant and I only have part time work. We want to make healthy changes to our diet but feel this is hard to do on our budget of $100 a week. We don't buy alcohol and tend to eat a lot of bread based meals i.e sandwiches, toast. Could you please offer us some affordable tips? We live in New Plymouth so best place to get things from would be really helpful too? Thanks

The blog request this week is one that takes nutritious eating and turns it into a practical budget friendly option for two adults. Being on a budget can be really difficult and it does mean that meals may be very simple and you wont be eating different foods for every meal. However, eating in this way can be great for gut health as it is often when we have a concoction of foods to digest that many of us experience digestive problems. I have given specific options that are available in New Plymouth but I'm sure across the country at markets and butchers the prices will be similar. The prices I have given were valid over the few days before writing this blog but can obviously change.

Shopping List:

1 x tray of 30 free range eggs from TLC meats $14.99

1 x free range chicken pieces from TLC meats $6.00

1 x bolar roast from TLC meats $16.00

Austins Produce at the SPCA market on Saturday morning in the Mill carpark from 8am-12pm. Better to get there before 9am as this is a popular stall.

1 x Sprayfree broccoli $2,

1 x Sprayfree cauliflower $2

1 x Sprayfree leek $1.50

1 x Sprayfree onions 3 for $1

1 x Sprayfree spinach bunch $2

Fresh trevally fish pieces from Egmont seafood (to buy this as fillets is quadruple the price so look for the pieces on the right side) $4.99 per kg. 2kilo = $10

All from New World supermarket

Kumara $2.99 per kg. 2kilo = $5

Brown Rice $2.99 for 500gms

1 x can ayam coconut cream $2.99

1 x bag avocados 5 pieces $4.99

1 x bunch bananas $2.49 kilo 6 bananas

1 x big can Sealord tuna in olive oil $1.99

The final cost is: $77.94. I realize this budget may have to include things like toilet paper, washing powder etc so I haven't included things like oils, butter, salt, pepper etc. If you use this as a guideline you will be well on your way to a healthier you and still remain within your budget.

Ideas for a 7day menu

Day 1:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person cooked how they like with piece 2 slices of kumara toast

Lunch - Fish pieces baked with lemon segments served with brown rice and ½ broccoli

Dinner - A ½ leek and a couple of leaves of spinach sauteed folded into a 1 egg omelet and ½ avocado

Snack - Banana


Day 2:

Breakfast - Brown rice cooked with water and ½ can coconut cream

Lunch - 2 eggs per person made into an omelet topped with ½ sliced banana

Dinner - Fish pieces made into fish cakes served with kumara chips and guacamole

Day 3:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person cooked how they like with piece 2 slices of kumara toast

Lunch - Left over fish baked with lemon served with steamed spinach and baked kumara

Dinner - Bake chicken pieces. Take chicken off the bone, reserving the bones to make bone broth. Serve chicken with avocado and 1/2 steamed broccoli

Snack - Banana


Day 4:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person made into an omelet topped with ½ sliced banana

Lunch - Use ½ the broth and ½ can coconut cream with your favourite spices and one onion to make a curry. Add leftover chicken and have with brown rice and spinach

Dinner - 2 kumara toast topped with avocado

Day 5:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person cooked how they like with piece 2 slices of kumara toast

Lunch - 1 can tuna in olive oil with 1/2 roasted cauliflower

Dinner - Slow cooked bolar roast with one onion, leftover bone broth and 1 tin tomatoes that is shredded will serve two adults for 2 main meals and a bit left over for lunch. For dinner serve with spinach

Snack - Banana

Day 6:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person cooked how they like with piece 2 slices of kumara toast

Lunch - Shredded beef served with ½ cauliflower mash and steamed spinach

Dinner - Shredded beef stir fried with brown rice and broccoli


Day 7:

Breakfast - 2 eggs per person made into an omelet topped with ½ sliced banana

Lunch - 2 kumara toast topped with avocado

Dinner - Whatever leftovers you have are going to be added to a brown rice stir-fry

Here's some more Thrifty tips

  • Do you know anyone who has a bounty of vegetables or fruit in their backyard? At this time of year citrus is abundant and when its falling on the ground I'm sure knocking on a neighbour's door and asking if you can take a few pieces will usually warrant gratitude.

  • Crop swaps are happening locally - maybe you have a tree dripping with lemons, take it along and see what you can swap for it.

  • Spending $ on quality over quantity is going to deliver more nutrients for your dollar. View food as nourishment not just a filler.

  • Buying in bulk i.e. egg trays rather than cartons and a big piece of meat that lasts a few meals keeps costs down and also less hours preparing meals in the kitchen.

  • Planting herbs/plants that are continuous i.e perpetual spinach are great for adding nutrients and the ability of herbs to turn some pretty standard ingredients to a delicious meal cannot be underestimated. Make the most of the New World seed deal at the moment!

  • Food is Free Project is an awesome community initiative: Check out - https://www.facebook.com/groups/586767948139791/

I sincerely hope this has been helpful and gives you confidence that you can eat for health and vitality even when on a budget.