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Wholesome summer food on a budget

Daniel Bouwmeester    January 2, 2024    3 min read   

Summer is the perfect time to get together with friends and family and share a delicious meal.

You might be hosting, or asked to bring a plate, or simply want to impress everyone with your cooking, but you don’t want to break the bank.

This is completely understandable, considering the cost-of-living crisis we are experiencing in Australia.

Below are some ideas to help manage your summer party season budget:

1. Before you buy your ingredients, check what is in the pantry. Use up dried herbs and spices to add flavour to your dishes, or finally finish those packets of dried pasta and rice with a nice salad. This is a great way to clean out your pantry and use food items before they expire.

2. Lean into your legumes. Legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils are often pushed to the back of the pantry. They are packed with fibre, protein and vitamins and are a tasty, healthy addition to salads. Or, try roasting them up with spices for a crunchy snack.

3. While you’re in the pantry, make a grocery list. A list will help you know exact quantities of what you need, will prevent unnecessary purchases, and reduce food and packaging waste. It will even shorten your time at the supermarket.

4. Focus on buying fruit and vegetables that are in season, so they are not only cheaper, but also more accessible. For example, this Summer, trade your apples for cherries and oranges, and your potatoes for cauliflower or broccoli.

5. Shop at a local farmers market or green grocer to save money and buy in bulk at reduced prices. Check in with your local butcher about cheaper cuts of meat or try slow cooker recipes like corned beef or roast chicken.

6. Remember that frozen food is fine. Frozen fruits and vegetables can have just as many vitamins and minerals as fresh and are often much cheaper and last longer in your freezer. Lean into snacks and desserts that use frozen fruits like strawberries.

Image: Silvia / Pixabay.

Finally, new research shows that following the Australian dietary guidelines can help you save up to $160 a fortnight on groceries.

So, sticking to healthier recipes including lots of fruit, vegetables and lean proteins can not only improve your health, it can help reduce the strain on your finances.

You can find the Australian Dietary Guidelines along with free recipes at eatforhealth.gov.au.

‘Third place’ research

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers are looking for Springfield-based participants over 60 for a study exploring the role of “third places” – parks, churches, cafes, libraries, markets, and gyms, for example – in the health and wellbeing of older adults.

If you, or someone you know would like to participate, please contact our lead researcher Emma at e.hennessey@uq.net.au.

– Professor Lauren Ball

The University of Queensland Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing at Springfield

Professor Lauren Ball and the UQ Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing team.

We are still conducting our Springfield Health and Wellbeing Check In survey. Please visit ​​loom.ly/9lzh85U or scan this QR code to take part.

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Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.