Using Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have a well-deserved reputation for helping our bodies stay healthy. They've also been linked with decreasing the risk of many serious illnesses. A healthy diet is full of a variety of vegetables and experts recommend getting 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day.
Get your 2 & 5 without breaking the budget.
- Choose seasonal. There’s a reason grapes and peaches are expensive in winter – they are in short supply and have had to come a long way to get to your supermarket. Choose fruit and vegetables that are in season for the cheapest options. See the LiveLighter seasonality charts for fruit and vegetables for more information.
- Buy local when you can – for the same reason. Supermarkets and fruit and veg shops are making more effort these days to tell you whether your fruit and veg come from Australia, saving on food miles and saving you money.
- Forage the freezers. Frozen vegetables are excellent quality and provide as much nutrition as fresh vegetables. Frozen fruit such as berries, can be a great year-round addition to baking and smoothies, cereal and added to yogurt.
- Scan the cans. Canned fruit and veg are convenient to have on hand and are just as healthy as fresh. Make sure you read the label and choose no-added-sugar fruit varieties and no-added-salt vegetables. They’re often on special, so stock up when you spot these.
- Apples are a great, inexpensive option for most of the year. Prices vary by variety, so scan the shelves for cheaper options.
- Choose fruit over processed snacks. Even exotic fruits at $7 a kilo are cheaper than biscuits or chips at $13 a kilo.
- Less meat more veg. Halve the amount of meat in recipes and add additional vegetables. More veggies means extra fibre, less saturated fat, and more antioxidants and vitamins for your body, plus more dollars in your pocket! Stir-frys, Bolognese and lasagne are all good dishes to try out this tip on.
- Get a leg-up with legumes. Legumes (beans and lentils) are tasty, versatile and cheap. At only 70 - 130 calories per 75g serving, you can fill up without fattening up. Soaking and cooking dried beans and lentils is the cheapest option, but tinned legumes are also economical. Just watch the sodium content of some brands.
Clever ways to make the most of cheap fruit and vegetables
- Add a handful of frozen berries to a basic apple crumble for extra interest and a nutrient boost.
- Use canned fruit, like peaches and pears, in smoothies. Combine with yoghurt, milk, oats and a banana for a tasty breakfast.
- Keep chopped-up fruit in the fridge in a plastic container, ready for instant snacking. This is especially good for children to be able help themselves too and can stop pestering for unhealthy snacks.
- Make fruit kebabs for dessert. Use chunks of orange, apple, banana and kiwifruit on skewers. It’s amazing how much more appealing this makes fruit to adults and kids alike.
- Try a plate of chopped fruit after a meal for the family to graze from.
- Add grapes, sliced apples, pears and oranges to pre-dinner platters and cheese boards.
- Freeze over-ripe fruit for later use. Kids will love the frozen fruit to eat as an icy treat. Or, once defrosted fruit becomes very soft, making it perfect for baking with or adding to smoothies.
- Look outside the supermarket. Other outlets – roadside stalls, greengrocers, farmers’ markets – can offer prices much cheaper than the supermarket.
- Keep a lookout for supermarket specials. Supermarkets can run great deals on veges because of their large-scale buying power.
- Frozen vegetables are excellent quality – as good as fresh veges – and can be significantly cheaper and ensure you always have some veges on hand.
If buying frozen veges, stick to single varieties rather than mixes, which tend to be more expensive.
- Got a garden? Great! Growing your own veges is the ultimate money-saver. Yes, it costs a bit to begin with, but once you’re up and running and saving your seeds for next year, you’ll be eating for free.
- Freeze your own. If you find a vegetable on super-special, buy bulk and freeze some. If you wash/peel/chop it first, you’ll save some time, too. Frozen vegetables don’t take as long to cook and ensures you always have some veges on hand.