The cost of everyday living is increasing, often determining what food we purchase and eat. The bottom line is that often, healthy food costs more than junk food. It’s a major contributing factor to Australia’s obesity epidemic and the diseases that go along with it, like diabetes and cancer.
Research shows healthy foods like cereals, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and eggs are increasing in price at a rate greater than unhealthy foods like cakes, biscuits, take away and fast foods, confectionery and soft drinks. So, foods that are typically high in fat, sugar and calories are cheaper to buy. Food prices can be affected by economic issues like supermarket price wars and environmental issues like weather patterns and natural disasters.
Although junk food can be convenient and cheap – making it more tempting to throw into the trolley or swing through the drive-through for – keep in mind the price on you and your family’s health. Try to eat what’s in season to keep the price down. Your local greengrocer can tell you what’s fresh and good value. See our winter recipe below for a cheap, health meal the whole family can enjoy. Soups are a great way to eat well – they full you up without too many calories.
Minestrone freezes well so make up a big pot and freeze portions for healthy meal or snack. Use whatever is fresh and in season. The recipe can be adapted accordingly.
Winter Minestrone Soup (serves 6)
1x 400g can diced tomatoes
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
200g butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks with leaves, chopped
1tsp dried oregano leaves
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1.75L (7 cups) water
3 small or 2 large zucchinis, chopped
40g (1/4 cup) small macaroni
1x 400g can borlotti or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup firmly packed roughly chopped fresh continental parsley
Salt and pepper
1 ½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
20g parmesan, finely shredded
Fresh bread to serve
Method: place the tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, onion, leek, carrots, celery, garlic and oregano in a large saucepan.
Add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook partially covered for 45 minutes.
Add the zucchini and macaroni, cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the zucchini and pasta are tender.
Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan and serve with fresh bread if desired. Enjoy!