Today I said to myself “I’d workout if it wasn’t raining”. Blaming the rain was my first mistake – I was just being downright lazy. Rain wasn’t the problem, the problem was I wasn’t motivated in the first place and the rain made it easier to tell myself I wouldn’t be working out today. Somehow, because I was able to justify my actions, I didn’t feel like the most guilty person ever. In hindsight, the time it took to fight with myself about working out, I could have ripped out a quick little 15 minute session.

Hands up if you constantly justify your actions, especially when it comes to easily solved things? I guess it’s easier to justify actions sometimes, than to make a positive change. The thing holding you back from great results are these poor excuses you’re telling yourself. You need to get rid of them, so you can see your goals much more clearly.


Today I thought I would talk about a subject that crosses my mind at least once a week as I constantly see comments on social media about the cost of food or hear people make passing statements such as “I’d love to eat healthier, but it’s so expensive to do so these days”. It’s all relative. Your diet will be 80-90% of your success or failure when it comes to weight loss, healthy living and yes, your abs too! So, read on if you want some tips on eating healthy, but not go broke from doing so.

“I can’t afford healthy food” is an excuse, not to mention a total cop out. In most cases, people are just too lazy to make positive changes to their diet, and don’t put in the necessary effort to make these changes. It’s easier to continue to think healthy food costs more, instead of looking into the facts, or even buying them next time they’re at the shops. People who think healthy food is too expensive just haven’t deemed eating healthy an absolute essential in their daily life or just don’t know how to eat healthy without breaking the budget. I’m a big believer that you can eat healthily, even on a shoestring budget.


Before I get started, let me just say, I appreciate everyone has different budgets when it comes to food. No two households are the same, however, there are still options for everyone. I also want to make mention of, when we’re talking about whether or not eating healthy is more expensive, we are comparing “whole foods” such as meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, to man-made highly processed food such as chips, lean cuisine meals, soft drink and sweet, sweet candy.  Thus, we’re basically comparing apples and oranges – but not literally of course.

Over the years people have been comparing healthy food to processed and claiming prepackaged food is cheaper, but when you start to compare things, you can actually see that the cost of healthy eating works out to be cheaper. If you start shopping smarter, you’ll see how it all works. For example: minced beef or minced pork is cheaper than that frozen pizza you wanted to eat on Tuesday night and you can get more than one meal out of 1 kg of mince. Rolled oats are cheaper than instant oats or muesli – and despite what you’re told, it’s okay to buy the budget brand. Apple, oranges, bananas are cheaper than fruit juice – better yet buy whatever fruit is on sale that week (hint, it’s generally at the front of the store, as you walk in).



Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to be eating organic foods, grass-fed beef, chia seeds or the hottest whole food of the moment. Is kale still cool? I don’t want to live in a world where kale isn’t cool anymore. Please tell me it’s still cool. It just means you have to opt for foods which are loaded with nutrients in a budget you’d like to spend.


  1. My biggest rule when it comes to doing our weekly or fortnightly shops is to list meals which ingredients transfer across to, for example: Spaghetti Bolognaise (mince, mushrooms, onion, capsicum, carrot) and tacos (mince, onion, capsicum) or chicken risotto (Chicken, vegetables, stock, rice, mushroom, peas) and baked chicken and vegetable (Chicken, peas, stock, vegetables). I make sure whatever vegetables or meat I purchase can be used in other meals, I make larger portions so I can eat them the next night or freeze to have it another day.
  2. One of my rules is that it’s totally fine if meat doesn’t make it’s way into your meals every day of the week, in fact, JD and I love our meat free meals. Meat is more expensive, so if you’re on a budget opt for vegetarian options like: pumpkin soup, lentil burgers (so cheap to make), vegetarian risotto. As I am listing these, I’m saying to myself, these are all really cheap to make! If you’re cool with making things like this on a regular basis, you’ll totally dominate your shopping next time.
  3. Another great option for JD and I is to do our shopping online when we’re time poor! Yes, you can do your groceries online in Australia. I’m not sure if this is an option for my overseas readers, but if it is, I highly suggest you do. The reason I love it so much is because I go to the cupboard and fridge before I shop online, work out what I have and what I need to buy (I never seem to do this before a physical shop). I meal plan for the fortnight and end up saving about $50-$60 on a shop, compared to if I had done my shopping instore. I never impulse buy either, which is a huge saver, and I never buy junk because it doesn’t cross my mind (not big advertising from junk food at the end of an aisle!!). So if your budget for food is minimal, this could be great for you!
  4. If the above doesn’t suit you, do the same, but make sure you take a list to the shop
  5. Don’t buy prepackaged meat, vegetable, pre-cooked vegetables. These are going to cost way, way more because they’re doing the work for you.
  6. Buy from local fruit shops – they tend to be a lot cheaper than Coles, Woolworths etc.
  7. There are a MILLION recipe sites online, type in cheap healthy meal options and watch a MILLION recipes stack up. Uh, huh, it’s really that simple.

There can be times when eating healthy can be more expensive and if you’re eating out, it probably means you’ll be spending extra to do so – but people are continuously amazed by this. The age old argument of the price of a salad verse the price of a burger always makes me laugh. “You can buy 6 burgers for the price of a salad”. No way! It’s so stupid because you’re comparing a nutritious meal to something that holds no nutrition at all. I can also buy two tubs of ice-cream for the price of a salad, it doesn’t mean I’m going to eat it for lunch. NB: I’m not supporting salad prices when dining out, I love salads, but hate buying them out because I know I can buy all the ingredients from my local shops for cheaper and make about 5 salads more. Actually, same goes for burgers and it would be a lot healthier than the processed one from McDonalds / Burger King / KFC et al.


If you’re still not sold on the fact whole foods work out to be better on your wallet each week, I want you to think about the price of junk, processed foods you think you’re saving money on and fast forward to when you’re paying for doctors visits or for other health related issues (heart disease, diabetes, obesity, liver damage). It all evens out, even if you aren’t able to see it just yet. The way I see it is, it’s an investment in your health. We spend all this money per year to look amazing in the latest clothes, drive the nicest car, go on incredible holidays – so why wouldn’t you spend money on your diet, to eat the best food for your system? Eating healthier will make you feel great and live longer –  consider it a return on your investment.

Image Source: Damn Delicious (Plus really great recipe options by Chungah)

Image Source: Diethood (Amazing food photography and recipe options by Katerina)

Also, my new Nip + Fab video is now live on my YouTube Channel


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Have your say! What are your thoughts on healthy Vs processed foods? Do you find it too expensive? Will you try and eat healthier now?

Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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