If you’re like me, you have found yourself lamenting the price of your favourite health foods at the grocery store on more than one occasion. Sure, Hungry Jacks will sell you two cheeseburgers, chips and a coke for $3.95 but your local green grocer just ain’t that generous most of the time. Fortunately, there are always specials to be found, and smart shoppers like you and me can snap them up and benefit big-time. Stuck for ideas on which discounted health foods to take advantage of, and how to use them? I’ve got you covered.
Here are the health foods you should stock up on when they’re cheap
If you don’t have a lemon tree, you know the struggle of paying way too much for lemons at the grocery store. So if you spot a big bag of them on special, do what I do: jump on that deal! Treat yourself to steaming mugs of honey lemon tea in Winter to help fight the cold-weather bugs out there, and in Summer add slices of lemon to a cold glass of water. Squeeze it over fish for dinner, or a bag of apple slices in the morning to keep them fresh for morning tea. Lemon juice is an awesome addition to many healthy salad dressings and marinades, and a bit of zest will add zing to pasta. And once you’ve run out of ideas, you can check out our handy guide on what to do when you’ve got too many lemons and limes.
Chives + Spring Onions
Snap them up, bring them home, give them a quick wash, chop them into tiny little bits and stick them straight in the freezer. Chopped chives and spring onions freeze beautifully and are super versatile! Sprinkle them on your eggs at breakfast, mix them into a quiche or frittata, chuck a handful of them over your pizza or garlic bread before it goes in the oven, or stir them through a creamy pasta sauce. You’ll be glad to have frozen chives and spring onions on hand as they just add that special touch to so many different meals!
When you think of health foods, you probably think of avocados a) because they’re delicious, and b) because it’s widely known that they are crazy-nutritious. This article goes through it more thoroughly than I will. Avocados are also notoriously expensive; there’s a reason Tim Gurner blames them for the fact that young people apparently can’t afford to buy homes (snort). So when I spot them on special, I buy up big. Pummeled into guacamole, sliced in a homemade burger or sandwich, chucked in a green smoothie, tossed through a salad, smashed on wholegrain toast with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of chilli flakes – these things are my jam, and the reason that avocado is one of my favourite health foods.
BUT BEWARE of avocados that come pre-packed in sealed plastic containers that don’t allow you to open them up in order to check the firmness of the fruit. I have never had a good experience with these – usually cutting them open at home to find they’re all riddled with bruises, brown spots and stringy fibres. Sometimes that cheap price tag really is too good to be true!
Maybe asparagus isn’t expensive where you’re from, but in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia, asparagus costs a minimum $3.50 per bunch year-round. So on the rare occasion I spot it on special, I take advantage! I didn’t grow up eating asparagus, so it’s still a novelty for me (ha!) Steam it, saute it, blanch it or roast it, and gobble it up with eggs for breakfast, chopped through a salad, as a side dish with salmon or chicken breast, or make delicious asparagus soup! Asparagus is a healthy vegetable packed with antioxidants and vitamins. For more info on the health benefits of asparagus, check out this guide.
Maybe it’s just because I have a vegetable-hating toddler, but zucchini is the holy grail of vegetables in my house at the moment because it’s one of the most hide-able health foods! I regularly stock up on zucchinis (generally I can find them cheap if I’m willing to buy 3-5 at a time) and grate them through almost everything. Curries. Pasta sauces. Risotto. Stir fries. When grated and cooked, zucchini becomes translucent and sneaky, and with its subtle taste in small doses, nobody minds accidentally eating it. BUT also, I just love zucchini. I grill slices of it and pop it in a sandwich with chicken breast and a sprinkle of feta. You can marinate it and plop it on a decadent antipasto platter. And OH. ZOODLES. I freaking love zoodles. If you haven’t zoodled yet, you must. I am trying this zucchini noodles recipe THIS WEEKEND.
Bananas are generally pretty cheap, but if you spot them even cheaper than usual, there’s no reason not to buy up big! There are so many yummy, healthy ways to use bananas. Slice them up and stir them through porridge with some walnuts and cinnamon. Devour them on wholegrain toast with a little cottage cheese and honey. Make banana pancakes (I whip up Tahlia’s healthy banana pancakes every couple of weeks). Bake with them (our nutty oat banana bread will knock your socks off, or you can make banana muffins and freeze them for crazy quick breakfasts). Peel them, chop them up and freeze them for smoothies or nicecream (these 10 nicecream recipes look DIVINE!) Mash them through some yoghurt. Yum. Yum. YUM.
There’s a reason every health and fitness influencer on Instagram raves about the humble sweet potato. As far as health foods go, sweet potatoes are pretty boss thanks to the myriad of vitamins and dietary fibres they host. And they are just so yummy. Sweet potatoes usually last in your pantry a good few weeks, so when you see bags of them at bulk discount, you know what to do. Baked sweet potato chips (sliced long-ways, tossed in a little olive oil and all-purpose seasoning) are a big favourite in our house, as is sweet potato mash, chopped sweet potato in a salad, and plain old chunks of roasted sweet potato alongside a roast chicken. (Are you sick of me saying “sweet potato” yet?) You can also use it as a pizza topping, cook it into a soup, or make it into fritters. You can even allegedly stick raw slices of it straight into a regular toaster and make toasted sweet potato, but I haven’t tried it yet so don’t take my word for it!
Our very own resident health Instagram-er and I Quit Sugar ambassador, Tahlia, has shared a couple of amazeballs sweet potato recipes on the blog. Check them out:
Health foods don’t have to cost the earth of you’re a frugal shopper. Simply take advantage of the sales as you see them, and laugh it up as you eat healthily on a budget!
Did I miss anything? What are your favourite health foods to snag on sale?
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