Tips for Gut-Healthy Eating on a Budget

 When you’re trying to save money on your grocery shop, where do you typically make the cuts? If it’s the healthy food options that often get left behind – you may be doing yourself a disservice both nutritionally and financially. In fact, The University of Wollongong found that on average, people actually save between $63 to $78 per week when switching to a healthy diet. Let’s take a look at some ways you can save money while also making gut-healthy choices.

Make a plan

Schedule in time to plan your meals! When you know what you’re going to make, you can create a grocery list so that you know exactly what you’re going to need and only buy those foods, rather than buying more than you need. You can also choose recipes that make use of the same ingredients to help you make those foods go further. Not only will this save you money on your shop, but doing so can help cut down on takeaway costs.

Look for specials

Take a look online before you go shopping. What products are on special? What’s in season at the moment? Try to find recipes that incorporate those foods to make the most of those savings.

Consider when to shop

When you go grocery shopping, plan to go during a time that you’re not hungry so that you stick to your plan. When we’re hungry, we’re more likely to choose discretionary foods, but these foods have little nutritional value and won’t fill us up the same way that nutrient-rich foods do. They’ll also add some extra costs to your grocery bill!

Choose plant proteins

Plant sources of protein like legumes, nuts and seeds can really help you cut costs. Not only do plant proteins tend to have a much lower price point than animal proteins, but most of them are shelf-stable too, meaning that you can bulk buy them without worrying about food waste. That sounds like a win-win to us!

Plant proteins can not only help you spend less, but you’ll also benefit from the added fibre in your diet and the increased diversity of plant foods, which your gut bugs will love you for!

Make cost-saving swaps

There’s simple conscious changes you can make that won’t sacrifice the nutrition you’re getting, but perhaps enhance it! Whether it’s swapping brands, choosing frozen over fresh, or finding similar but less expensive foods, certain food swaps can certainly make a difference in the total cost of your shop.

  • Swap juice for water. It provides your body with hydration and it’s free!
  • Swap meat for lentils. Opting for plant proteins occasionally can make a big difference in how much you spend while still providing you with protein
  • Swap fresh vegetables for frozen or canned. Frozen veg is just as nutritious as fresh but lasts much longer. You could also choose frozen vegetable mixes to help increase plant diversity in your diet! Canned vegetables can be another cheaper option, just be sure to rinse them well.
  • Swap muesli for oats. Did you know that rolled oats are a whole grain? Traditional oats are relatively inexpensive but contain plenty of nutrition to support a healthy gut.
  • Swap salmon for tinned tuna. Salmon is a very nutritious choice, but we know that it can come at a higher price point. Tinned tuna offers the same benefits of heart-healthy omega-3s while also being an excellent source of protein.

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk when possible can help you save money. Think of your gut-healthy staples that have a long shelf-life such as canned beans, lentils, and whole grains like brown rice, and quinoa. Keep an eye out for when these foods go on sale and stock up if you can!

Cook in bulk

Cooking in bulk can help you stretch your food budget as well. Make the most of your meals by making dishes that freeze well or getting creative with leftovers by using them in other meals. You can also try using common ingredients between meals so that you can use fewer ingredients. Having meals ready-to-go may also help you reduce takeaway purchases!

Watch your expiration dates

Do you know the difference between ‘use before’ and ‘best before’ dates? ‘Use Before’ dates shouldn’t be consumed afterwards because it refers to food safety. If you know you won’t finish the food before this date, you can store it in the freezer to enjoy later! ‘Best before’ dates on the other hand refer to a product’s freshness and quality, so you can use your discretion to determine if these foods can be had after the date. Knowing the difference between these labels can help you get the most out of the food you buy.


When it comes to saving on your grocery shop, being prepared, knowing what to look for, and making the most out of your groceries can all make a big difference on your total spend. If you need help getting gut-friendly and budget-friendly habits in place, don’t hesitate to book in a consultation with one of our friendly Accredited Practising Dietitians to help you!

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