Shopping and cooking on a budget

– Make a shopping list: Plan your meals and shopping. If you shop when you are hungry, you
may buy unnecessary or unhealthy luxuries.
– Know the price: Get to know the average price of groceries or the price per kilogram. Look out for specials on the things you really need.
– Buy in bulk and in season: Buy vegetables and fruit when they are in season, as these are
usually cheaper. Buy more veg-gies if fruit is too expensive. Buying discounted bulk or combo food and sharing with friends or family can help save money. Buy more veggies rather than more expensive meat.
– Stick to affordable healthy foods: It is unnecessary to buy olive oil – sunflower or canola oil are good choices. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk – these often cost the same as full-cream milk. Skim- milk powder is cheaper and healthier than coffee or tea creamers. Tinned fish often costs less than fresh fish or meat and is just as nutritious. Oats, sorghum (mabella) or coarse mealie porridge are healthier and cheaper than some breakfast cereals.
– Do it yourself: Buy a whole chicken, cut into portions and re- move the skin. Grate cheese or cut up veggies at home rather than buying expensive convenience food and meals.

If healthier and more affordable options are not always available at your local shop, ask the manager to stock them and encourage others to do the same.

-Cook with the right size pot: Try to use a pot or pan that is the same size as the stove plate or gas hob, to prevent wasting electricity or gas.
– Cook with a lid: When making a stew or soup, keep the lid on. This way the food
cooks faster and less electricity is used.
– Cook for more than one meal at a time: This saves you time and electricity. Be creative with left-overs and use them for lunches or to prepare a second meal.
– Make your meals go further: Adding beans, lentils or vegetables to bulk up meat or mince dishes can make your meals healthier and more affordable.
– Think about your cooking options: Use the stove top or microwave instead of the oven to save electricity. Hay or wonder boxes are very effective for slow-cooking beans, lentils, rice or stews as they do not use electricity.

Reading food labels helps you make healthier choices. You’ll soon learn which foods are better choices. There are a few things you need to look out for on labels when shopping.

Ingredients list The first few ingredients listed on a label makes up the largest portion of the food. Therefore avoid or eat less of a food if the following words are listed in the first few ingredients.

-Fat, oil, lard, butter, cream, shortening, trans fat (or partially hydrogenated fats).
-Salt or any word with‘sodium’, MSG, nitrates or nitrites.
-Sugar, sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose.

Nutritional Information table.

– This shows you how much of each nutrient is in the food.
– Look at the numbers per 100 g of the product to compare similar foods with each other.
– Use the table below to decide if the food is high or low in fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium (salt).
– Foods in the ‘low’ group can be eaten more often, but foods in the ‘high’group should be eaten seldom or on special occasions.

Nutrient (values are per 100 g of food) Low Go ahead! Eat more often Moderate Watch out! Eat sometimes High Too much! Avoid
Fat Less than 3 g 3 g – 20 g More than 20 g
Saturated fat Less than 1.5 g 1.5 g – 5 g More than 5 g
Sugar Less than 5 g 5 g – 15 g More than 15 g
Sodium (salt) Less than 120 mg 120 mg – 600 mg More than 600 mg