Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

How to effectively shop healthy for a large family

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

While there’s plenty nutrition information available for individuals, there is far less that’s family friendly. When you need to consider the food preferences of a number of people, budgets, ease of cooking and family friendly recipes, shopping can be a full-time job. So, if you are keen to start 2021 in control of your family’s nutrition, here are some tricks of the trade to make your weekly shop a whole lot easier.

Make your own snacks

If you look at the money we spend at supermarkets, it is the processed and packaged snacks which can really add up each week, especially for larger families. A cost-effective way to help reduce this spend, whilst improving nutrition is to get into the habit of making some of your snacks each week. Mini muffins, protein balls and fruit breads are all tasty snacks the whole family will enjoy and using ingredients such as wholemeal flour, frozen fruits including banana and berries and dairy like yoghurt and milk helps to boost the nutrient profile of these tasty treats. In the case of bananas, you can even utilise the skins of a banana or two in your recipe to increase the fibre content of your banana bread or muffins whilst helping to reduce food waste.

Cook once, eat twice

One of the smartest ways to spend less time in the kitchen is to find meal bases that can be utilised in multiple recipes. Here you knock out at least two meals each time you shop, you have the opportunity to buy your base ingredients such as chicken breast or lean mince in bulk (which is often cheaper) and meal planning takes care of itself. Pasta bakes and lasagnes work particularly well, as does a mince base used in multiple recipes, soups, stir fries and pies which all freeze well and are well liked by all (or at least most) family members.

Embrace what’s in season

Seasonal produce is always a cheaper option, but another trick is to freeze extra produce when it is in season, so you always have a supply on hand. Think berries, mangoes, and stone fruit which all freeze for up to 12 months if stored correctly, and bananas which can be frozen for 3 months. Here you will always have access to delicious, fibre rich fruit to enjoy in smoothies, fruit bakes and baking without needing to resort to non-seasonal prices or relatively expensive frozen varieties.

Go for one vegetable-based meal

Including at least one plant-based meal in your family’s meal plan each week will instantly save you up to $20 per meal. Think vegetarian nachos or tacos, soup, vegetable pasta bakes or chilli con carne which can cost as little as $2-3 per serve.

Think naturally sweet options

As we move into Summer, and the most delicious fresh fruits are available to us, it is good to remember that fruit is one of the best sweet treats and even alternatives to added sugars. For example, frozen fresh fruits including bananas, mangoes and grapes taste very similar to gelato and are a much cheaper alternative to ice-cream, while pureed fruits instantly sweeten any recipe, cereal bowl or yoghurt. Here simply opting for foods in season, buying them in bulk and making the most of them can easily make feeding your family a healthy, nutrient rich diet whole lot easier.

Recipe: Banana Pops

Makes about 12 pops

Ingredients

  • 2 x 170g tubs of Chobani Greek or Coconut Yoghurt

  • 24 dark chocolate bits

  • 6 small bananas cut in halves

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Dip each banana in yoghurt and add 2 eyes using dark chocolate bits.
  3. Place in the freezer to set for around 1 hour.