Eating well for your waistline and wallet

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan explains that eating healthily doesn’t have to hit your hip pocket.

Have you been shocked by the amount of unhealthy food that’s slipped into your shopping cart or the total you’ve managed to rack up at the checkout?

Between the latest food trends, marketing hype and product placement, grocery aisles can be hard to navigate, but eating healthily doesn’t have to be difficult and it definitely doesn’t have to break the bank.

Research from IBISWorld shows Australians are expected to spend $641.4 million on weight loss counselling services and related low-calorie foods and dietary supplements in 2017-18.

However, we’re encouraging Queenslanders to keep things simple, avoid fad diets, and focus on consuming a balanced diet.

By replacing discretionary foods, with fruit and vegetables you enjoy, you will feel better, boost your fibre intake, and be better able to maintain a healthier weight, which can help save you from possible medical expenses later in life.

Plus, healthy pantry and freezer staples like wholegrain pasta, rolled oats, canned or dried beans and canned tuna, or frozen veggies, cost next to nothing and are easy to cook.

You just have to commit to a little bit of weekly preparation, have a few easy recipes on hand and opt for a few food swaps*. Here are five tips to get you started.

One, have a meal plan. By having a weekly schedule, you’ll know what you need to buy when you go grocery shopping and food won’t go to waste.

Two, love leftovers. When you cook a meal one night, make a little extra for lunch or dinner the next day. This will help save you time and money.

Three, consider your snacks. Many people opt for discretionary foods between meals when they get hungry and aren’t prepared. Try cutting up veggies, like carrots, celery and capsicum, ahead of time for your upcoming snacks, to have with hummus or tahini. Or split up unsalted nuts or popcorn into serving sizes, so you only eat that amount.

Four, boost flavour with herbs instead of using creamy dressings and extra salt. A good selection of dried herbs and spices is handy to have in the cupboard, so you aren’t tempted to use expensive and sugar-laden pre-packaged sauces. Also, vegetables such as onions, leeks and shallots are a bargain when you consider how much flavour and health benefits they bring to dishes.

Five, replace sugary drinks with water. While water is free, soft drinks and cordials offer little to no nutritional advantage, but increase your waistline and shrink your wallet.

At least one third of all cancer cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, including eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, so it’s imperative that we make smart  spending decisions.

To help Queenslanders make the healthy choice, the easy choice – Queenslanders can get involved with Cancer Council’s free cancer prevention program QUEST, by visiting

*Swap to stay healthy and save

Prices are a rough approximation and may vary across brands and stores.

Swap this For this
Blueberry muffins

$2 each at supermarket or around $5 at cafes

Small handful of unsalted nuts

$0.72 for a 30g serve of unsalted almonds

Coleslaw dressing

$0.91 per 100ml

Balsamic vinegar

$0.60 per 100ml

Sour cream

$1.08 per 100g

Low-fat Greek yogurt

$0.50 per 100g

Canned fruit salad in juice

$4.67 per 1kg

Fresh fruit

$4 per 1kg for red apples or red Bartlett pears

Soft drinks

$2.17 per 1L for a pack of cans


FREE from the tap! Or only $0.50 per 1L for a 10L container of natural spring water

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Maynard, Senior Media Advisor, Cancer Council Queensland. P. (07) 3634 5171