Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing. Last updated: 21 Dec, 2020

Supporting Victorians to access fresh food more cheaply

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There’s a difference between eating on a budget and eating healthy, delicious food on a budget.

In this article we share our top tips for eating foods that will help you stay well – physically and mentally – as we head into the holiday season and the beginning of 2021.

  • Where you can buy foods to make your budget go further
  • How not to get sucked into fad ‘super foods’
  • Foods that will help you stay physically and mentally well over the holidays and beyond

Be Healthy was created by VicHealth to provide helpful tips and advice on how you and your family can stay healthy. You can read more Be Healthy articles here.


As the holidays approach, you might be eating more highly processed foods that contain a lot of added sugars and salt.

But you probably also want to give yourself the best chance of feeling good – physically and mentally – to get through the silly season as best you can. That’s why it’s so important to continue to purchase and cook delicious healthy food to keep you feeling your best.

With that in mind, here are some tips to continue to eat healthy and delicious food, that won’t blow out your weekly budget all while helping you feel full and energised.


Tips for getting the healthy food you need on a budget


1. Start with healthy recipes that won’t break the bank

LiveLighter recipes from their website

There are many healthy recipes out there, but not all of them have a strict budget in mind.

Here are some free resources where you can find affordable healthy recipes:

  • No Money No Time has recipes you can filter based on ingredients and your preferences, dietary requirements and kitchen appliances
  • The free Back to Basics recipe book on Cancer Council Victoria’s LiveLighter website also has healthy meals you can make on a budget


2. If you can, buy from markets


Young woman with a mask shopping at a greengrocer's

With demand for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat at this time of year forcing prices up in chain supermarkets, it’s often cheaper to source produce outside of the big supermarkets, if you can.

The Community Grocer runs five fruit and vegetable markets in public housing estates and community centres across Melbourne. Prices are typically 60 per cent cheaper than supermarketsCheck out The Community Grocer to see if there’s a market near you. Find out more about the program here.

Wholesale markets are also generally able to sell fruit, vegetables and meat at cheaper price than large supermarkets. Given lots of these smaller vendors have done it tough this year during the pandemic, this is a chance to support local businesses and help them finish the year strongly.


3.  Don’t get sucked into ‘superfood’ fads

Anything called a ‘superfood’ will often come with a matching price tag. And there is no evidence that specific foods protect people from getting sick.

But research does show that generally improving your nutrition helps your immune system to function well and fight infections. Read more about what to eat while you stay home with VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio’s healthy eating tips.



4.  Get support when you need to

If you’re unable to put food on the table this holiday season, contact your local council or visit the Ask Izzy website to find out where you can access food relief services in your local area.

It’s important to note that large organisations such as FoodBank, SecondBite and Oz Harvest don’t distribute food directly to people. Instead, these organisations distribute food to local community food relief agencies, so contact your council to find out the best way to get help. 

The government also has free food and personal care packages available to Victorians doing it tough during the coronavirus pandemic. More information here


For more VicHealth articles on how to look after your health this festive season, check out:



Header image source: Mark Stewart, The Herald Sun