Healthy Eating for Less

Healthy Eating for Less

By: Elizda Hanekom

Date: July 2016



  • Many people do not know what healthy eating is, over half of Americans believed that figuring out what is healthy and what is not is harder than figuring out their income taxes (1)
  • South African overweight and obesity rates are the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa(2)
  • Up to 70% of women and a third of men in our country are classified as overweight or obese
  • Rates for children are also rising 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys between the ages of 2-14 years classified as overweight or obese are (2)

With prices sky-rocketing and everyday life becoming more and more expensive, it seems like our once fat wallets are now on a strict diet. Everyday choices become more challenging as we decide where to spend our money. Here are some useful tips and tricks to keep your health on track while considering the cost burden, should come in handy. Healthy lifestyles should never be compromised.


Healthy eating is defined as consuming a variety of foods in the correct quantities that give us the nutrients we need in order to maintain our health, make us feel good and provide us with energy to carry out our daily tasks. (3) Healthy eating helps decrease our risk for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), Diabetes and Hypertension. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends eating a diet that is low in sodium, fat and sugar and high in fruits and vegetables (400g) to help improve health overall and decrease the risk of NCDs. (4) (1)



  • Meal Planning is essential

Planning meals in advance will definitely help keep the “healthy you” on track as well as save costs. Remember to buy brown vs white, low-fat vs full-cream and fresh, whole foods vs processed foods. Take one day per week to plan the following week’s menu. Set up a shopping list whilst considering which ingredients you already have. It’s important to regularly check ones fridge and pantry to make sure foods are utilised and wastage is decreased.


  • Set up a shopping list and stick to it

We often get side-tracked at the grocery stores where we end up buying things we don’t need, every purchase adds up. Whole foods are mostly located in the perimeter of the shops, start doing your groceries here to fill up your cart. The middle aisles often contain the more unhealthy items such as processed foods; only go down the aisles where you need something, browsing may lead to temptations. (5) Most shops also place there expensive items at eye level, when scanning for the items you need try look at the top or bottom of the shelves. (5)


  • Don’t go to the shops hungry

When we are hungry we often crave foods that are not good for our health or wallets. Make sure to eat a balanced meal or have an on-the-go snack before going to the shops. Try having something like a yoghurt, fruit, FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink, making a smoothie from FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Smart Food™ or FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ (see great recipes online: or grabbing a FUTURELIFE® High Protein LITE Smart bar to keep you satisfied and healthy whilst on your shopping journey.


  • Buy local, seasonal fruit and vegetables

These foods are usually easy on the wallet as the abundance of the crop usually help to decrease the price. Seasonal fruits and vegetables often taste better too. “Foods that are chilled and shipped lose flavour at every step of the way – chilling cuts their flavour, transport cuts their flavour, being held in warehouses cuts their flavor” explains Susan Herrmann (6) Loomis, owner of On Rue Tatin Cooking School in France and author of countless cookbooks.


  • Buy whole foods

Processed foods are often more expensive than whole foods, for example buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself will be cheaper than buying already shredded cheese. (5) Same goes for vegetables, buy whole veggies and cut them up yourself, already peeled and chopped vegetables cost a lot more per serving than making up your own vegetable mixes.


  • Buy in bulk and look for sales

Foods which keep for a long period of time can be bought in bulk. Grains like brown rice, barley and oats, as well as lentils, beans, some nuts and dried fruit kept in airtight containers can last a very long time. Research the sales and promotions running at your supermarket and plan your meals according to this, this may save you a lot of money.  If your supermarket store offers a savings card, be sure to sign up.


  • Buy more affordable cuts of meat

Meat can be enjoyed whilst on a budget. Change the cut of meat to get more affordable options. Instead of having chicken breasts buy chicken thighs and try different cooking methods, a slow cooker is excellent to help make tough cuts a lot more juicy and tender. Inexpensive cuts of meat often make great casseroles, soups and stews. (5)


  • Cook at home and make enough for leftovers

Eating out or buying fast foods are often high in fat, salt and calories which are not good for us and these foods are also not easy on the wallet. Instead opt for eating healthful meals at home. This way you know exactly what is in your food. Cooking larger quantities of food and using the leftovers helps save costs and time. Leftovers can be used for lunches, in other recipes or used to make great stews, stir-fries and salads.


Eating healthy influences the way we feel about ourselves and shapes the way we look. It is important to make good food choices everyday not only for ourselves but also for our families. Healthy eating does not have to cost a fortune, following these simple tips may help lead a better lifestyle. Bad health can often cost more as medical bills increase and work capacity may decrease. Always remember that no price can be put on good health.