Five affordable and healthy food alternatives for cash-strapped kiwifruit

As the costs of food and groceries rise, it is increasingly difficult to afford healthy and nutritious foods.

We chatted with Eat well for less nutritionist Amanda Brien for some tips and advice on what cheaper alternatives you can find at the supermarket to ensure your family can eat well without breaking the bank.

Auckland nutritionist Amanda Brien suggests that kiwis buy beans and legumes, seasonal vegetables, micro-vegetables, and nuts and seeds to keep grocery costs down.

Provided

Auckland nutritionist Amanda Brien suggests that kiwis buy beans and legumes, seasonal vegetables, micro-vegetables, and nuts and seeds to keep grocery costs down.

TO KNOW MORE:
* What kiwifruit spend on food: Hungry teens, home cooking, and soft drinks for $ 433 per week
* What kiwifruit spend on food: $ 90 for food, $ 60 for beer and air fryer meals three times a day
* What kiwifruit spend on food: A vegan couple eats the same meals every week for $ 355
* What are the cheapest meats when times are tight?

Beans and legumes

Red beans are a natural pairing in Mexican dishes.  Beans are high in protein and will help you stretch your meals to allow you to feed more people with less.

Steve Brown

Red beans are a natural pairing in Mexican dishes. Beans are high in protein and will help you stretch your meals to allow you to feed more people with less.

Beans and legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas, soy, lentils and cannellini beans are an inexpensive concentrate of fiber, protein, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

They can also be very useful for extending meat dishes, such as adding beans to a Mexican ground beef dish, allowing you to serve more people for a lower price and providing other nutrients you wouldn’t get from meat.

Legumes aren’t typically a big part of Kiwi diets (aside from baked beans), but the Heart Foundation Full o ‘Beans cookbook shows you how to add them to meals. It gives legumes a twist to old kiwi favorites, but is also inspired by Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern and Pacifika dishes.

DIY sauces and toppings

Beetroot salad with pomegranate dressing.  You can make lots of different sauces and toppings with a few pantry staples.  They will also be healthier and cheaper than store-bought options.

Todd Eyre / NZ House and garden

Beetroot salad with pomegranate dressing. You can make lots of different sauces and toppings with a few pantry staples. They will also be healthier and cheaper than store-bought options.

Store-bought sauces and salad dressings can be an added expense and have high amounts of sodium (salt), sugar, and saturated fat added, which people often don’t realize.

You can save money and make a variety of sauces and condiments from pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, soy sauce, dried herbs / spices, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger, mustard, and vinegar. This way you are in control of how much sodium, sugar and fat go into the sauce, and it’s much cheaper too.

Seasonal foods

Buying seasonal produce will help you keep costs down and offer better nutritional value.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Buying seasonal produce will help you keep costs down and offer better nutritional value.

Avoid paying more for production by sticking to cheaper seasonal fruits and vegetables, which also have a higher nutritional content.

In general, things like carrots and kale are more year-round and can be really versatile. You can use them in salads or french fries.

There are many online tools that guide you towards what’s in season. Check out vegetable.co.nz, www.5aday.co.nz and the food waste reduction site foodprint.app to get a snapshot of everything in season for that month.

Micro-greens

Microgreens are easy to manage - just drop them on the windowsill and let them go.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / Stuff

Microgreens are easy to manage – just drop them on the windowsill and let them go.

Not everyone has room outside for a garden, but you can purchase small trays of microgreen seedlings and place them near the window to grow.

Mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, basil, arugula, are great to have on hand to add on top of salads. It’s also fun to have something you can grow yourself.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great value for money.  Peanuts and sunflower seeds are some of the cheapest but still contain a lot of nutritional value.

Maksim Shutov / Unsplash

Nuts and seeds are great value for money. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are some of the cheapest but still contain a lot of nutritional value.

Peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds are some of the cheapest options for 100g and really offer a nutritional punch when compared to other nuts and seeds.

Peanut butter is another low-cost way to add nuts to your diet, and there are many uses beyond spreading it on toast.

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