Woman in mask shopping in Woolworths packaged food aisle June 28

Food prices are rising. Here are five budget purchases dieticians recommend

With many Australians already under pressure due to the rising cost of living, news that food prices will rise will not be welcome.

The National Food Supply Chain Alliance has warned that grocery prices could jump 8% by this time next year.

As many people tried to cut back on spending at the supermarket, the ABC spoke to two registered dietitians to get their results.

And they say saving money doesn’t have to mean cutting back on healthy foods.

“It’s so common to think that eating healthy is going to be expensive – it doesn’t have to be,” says Nutrition Australia’s Leanne Elliston.

“It’s about knowing what to look for.”

Dietitians Australia spokeswoman Anika Rouf agrees.

She says the best way to save money at the supermarket is to plan ahead.

Here are five inexpensive items that experts say are worth adding to your shopping cart.

canned fish

Canned salmon does not need to be eaten straight out of the can.(ABC Great Southern: Tom Edwards)

Why?

“When we try to save, we avoid fish because we associate it with the high price, we think of really refined fish like salmon,” says Dr Rouf.

She says there are plenty of tasty canned options available these days.

“Something simple like lemon and cracked pepper can be quite tasty.”

But keep an eye out for added salt.

Dr. Rouf says fish in spring water is the lowest calorie option.

If there are no spring water options on the shelf, she ranks fish in oil above fish in sauce, which often has more salt.

How many?

Canned tuna: Individual 95 gram cans range from approximately 90 cents to $2.70, depending on brand

Sardines: Boxes ranging from 105 to 120 grams range from 85 cents to $5.25

Canned salmon: Individual 95 gram cans range from $1.20 to $2.90

Eggs

Eggs in an egg box.
Eggs are an easy way to boost your protein intake.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)

Why?

According to Dr. Rouf, eggs are a good source of protein and are often much cheaper than meat.

“It’s a great on-the-go protein and very versatile – it can be used in things like sandwiches and salads.”

According to Australian dietary guidelines, two large eggs are equivalent to one standard portion of lean meat.

How many?

Prices for a pack of 12 free-range eggs vary, ranging from $4.50 to $9.80

Canned tomatoes

A close up to a can of canned tomatoes on a silky oak wood table.
Choose the variety of canned tomatoes with the lowest amount of sodium per 100 grams. (ABC News: Danielle Maguire)

Why?

According to Dr. Rouf, the beauty of canned tomatoes is in their versatility.

They can be used in soups, stews and pastas.

If you have a few boxes on hand, you can make a dish out of any fresh seasonal produce you bring back from the stores.

Ms Elliston says you need to watch the salt content of canned tomatoes as it can vary widely from variety to variety.

Often there will be a few different brands on supermarket shelves, so it’s best to compare the nutritional information on the back of the boxes and choose the type with the lowest sodium levels per 100 grams.

How many?

Depending on the brand, canned tomatoes typically cost between 75 cents and $2.40.

Carrots

generic carrot close
Carrots make great additions to a whole host of dishes – boosting the vegetable content and prolonging the meal. (Rural ABC: Buchanan Street)
Why?

Dr. Rouf says these are some of the most consumed vegetables, and for good reason.

“They’re very versatile, you can have them raw, in stews and stir-fries,” she says.

“They are one of those very affordable vegetables.”

You can count on a steady supply of cheap carrots at your local supermarket all year round.

And they keep for a long time in the fridge, making them perfect for storing and treating as a kitchen staple.

“If they start to get a little soft, use them in the cooked dish – when you use them in soups and stews, you can’t really tell they’ve gotten a little soft.”

How many?

Pre-packaged carrots in 1 kilogram bags cost between $1.80 and $2.90.

Canned chickpeas, lentils and beans

A close up of a can of chickpeas sitting on a silky oak wood surface.
Chickpeas are both a vegetable and a source of protein. (ABC News: Danielle Maguire)

Why?

Leanne Elliston says lentils are great for making meaty dishes like casseroles or spaghetti bolognese, stretching leftovers into lunches.

“Suddenly a dish that could serve four could serve eight or last more days.

“You also make it more nutritious and put more fiber in it.”

Dr. Rouf explains that legumes contribute to both your protein and veg count for the day.

Half a cup of dried or canned cooked legumes is considered one serving of vegetables.

You will need one cup of cooked legumes to equal one standard serving of lean meat.

“You also have something that provides fiber, protein and healthy carbs,” says Dr. Rouf.

“It’s a really good food that we don’t often gravitate to.”

Baked beans are also on this list, but Dr. Rouf advises opting for a reduced-salt variety.

How many?

Lenses: Between 80 cents and $1.90 for a 420 gram can

Chickpeas: Between 80 cents and $2.20 for a 400 gram box

Beans with bacon : You could pay between 65 cents for a 420 gram can and $2.20 for a 425 gram can

Cost estimates are based on standard prices listed on national major supermarket websites this week. Prices may vary at independent grocers.

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