FOOD MORE EXPENSIVE: Kelly Watterson of Larnook and her son Charlie Mullenberg with her weekly grocery supplies.
FOOD MORE EXPENSIVE: Kelly Watterson of Larnook and her son Charlie Mullenberg with her weekly grocery supplies. Jacklyn Wagner

Healthy food prices out of reach

HEALTHY food is now priced beyond most people's budgets, according to a new survey.

The poll, published by the Dieticians Association of Australia, found that 70 per cent of people believe healthy food is now more expensive than a year ago. One in two say they are buying food that is less healthy because it is cheaper.

Larnook mother Kelly Watterson's experience confirms the survey's findings.

“Good food is a lot more expensive now - especially meat and fresh vegetables,” she said. “We have really had to modify our eating habits. We used to do a lot of stir fries, and baked dinners with fresh vegetables nearly every night. Now we eat fresh food only about three nights a week. We're eating a lot more cheap lasagnes out of the freezer, pies, fish fingers and fish cakes.”

The DAA is trying to make healthy eating a little easier for cash strapped consumers with some budget-boosting tips that urge Australians to get 'back to basics'.

The association said food is often the largest part of a family budget, so Australians need to shop and eat smarter.

“We find that as money gets tighter, health and food are often the first things out the door - and this new research backs this up,' DAA spokeswoman Sandra Murray said.

But the DAA believes healthy food doesn't have to cost more.

“People often think fruit and vegetables are expensive, but when you look at the price per kilogram, they're not,” Mr Murray said.

“For example, the humble potato costs about $1.75 per kilo but if you turn it into hot potato chips it's about $5 per kilo, and when made into potato crisps, it skyrockets to at least $20 per kilo.”

Ms Murray said fruit was the original 'convenience' food, and parents should encourage children to eat it.

Budget-boosting tips

• Plan your meals and recipes for the week.
• Plan your food shopping - and shop when you're not hungry.
• Create a shopping list and stick to it.
• Take your lunch from home.
• Eat fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season.
• Compare the per kilogram price of foods to work out your best choice.
• Shop at local markets to take advantage of the cheaper produce - or grow your own.
• Freeze leftovers rather than wasting these. Have a leftover night every week.


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