It can be difficult trying to cut your food spending and getting all the nutrition you need. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve prepared menu plans – for families, couples and singles – to show how you can save on your food shopping and stay healthy
How our menus are made
These healthy, nutritious and balanced menu plans cover every meal and snack for the week, and include all the energy each member of the household requires. Using recipes from the May 2010 issue, these menus are significantly cheaper than the average food costs for different households.
How we shopped
We’ve priced these menus based on an average supermarket. We followed these rules:
we bought items on special whenever possible
we used as much seasonal produce as possible
we chose a supermarket’s ‘own brand’ products when they were the cheapest option available
we bought bulk packs of staple items and allowed for storage.
we included homemade versions of pre-packaged products, such as hommous.
we made our own yoghurt (using mixes – save even more by doing it from scratch).
Note: Some ingredients on the shopping lists are things you need for the recipes and you won't need to buy every week. This means your initial shopping trip may cost more, but in the future, your shopping will be cheaper.
You can achieve even bigger savings by
checking out specials at specialty butchers and fruit and veg shops
check the bulk bins
shopping at Asian supermarkets for specialty ingredients shopping at roadside stalls and farmers’ markets
buying items in bulk then freezing them
planting your own herbs, salad mix, spinach, silverbeet and other vegies
Buy once a month (or as needed). These pantry basics are items you may not buy every week. We recommend buying in bulk and storing the excess.
cooking oil spray
dried herbs, spices
flour (white, wholemeal)
reduced-fat table spread
reduced-salt soy sauce
sugar (icing, brown, white)
healthy cooking oil, (canola, rice bran)
mustard, tomato sauce
Buy occasionally. These occasional purchases are not included in the main shopping lists. Buy these when the budget allows or when on sale.
oils, such as walnut, olive and sesame
Weekly menu plan for families
Our family menu is based on Mum (M), Dad (D), a 16-year-old boy (B) and a 14-year-old girl (G).
Dietitian Bobbie Crothers says, “In a family like this one, the growing and active teenage boy usually eats larger serves than everyone else, Mum probably has the smallest serves, sometimes even less than the teenage daughter. NOTE: If your kids are younger, you won’t need as much food (and you’ll spend less).
Average healthy family cost (for all meals): $370
Our menu: $265
$105 per week for a year = $5,460
Weekly menu plan for couples
This menu is based on the nutrition needs of an average man (M) and average woman (W), aged 31–50. A younger couple will need a little more, an older couple slightly less.
Dietitian Bobbie Crothers says,“Feel free to make substitutions in this menu, e.g. change the type of cereal. And bake the slice at the weekend so you have economical sweet snacks for the week.”
Average healthy couple cost (for all meals): $213
Our menu: $163
$50 per week for a year = $2,600
Weekly menu plan for singles
This menu is based on the energy and nutritional needs of a woman in her 20s. For men, add some extra snacks and increase the portion sizes in the meals.
Dietitian Bobbie Crothers says, “Eating healthily when it’s just you to cook for can sometimes seem like too much effort. But it’s worth it when you consider that good nutrition is important to keep you fit and healthy, and can save you money. You can spread the snacks out however you like – even include them in meals if it suits.”