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Healthy eating is NOT expensive! PLUS: Budget Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

I hear way too many people telling me that eating healthy is too expensive for them, which is why they'd rather go for easier, more convenient options. But recent research has actually shown that in Australia, people are spending 58% of their budgets on discretionary (less healthy) choices, like take-aways! Imagine if that 58% was spent more wisely - how much better would Australia's health be?

You don't need to be a high income earner to be healthy... In fact, centuries ago, poor people actually had better health than the riches. This is because they lived on what they could grow, which was mostly vegetables, grains and legumes!

Times have changed, and we are bombarded with unhealthy options left, right and centre. And although we know what to do most of the time, we get overwhelmed and confused with all the nutrition noise around us, that we tend to just choose the most convenient and least healthy choice.

So what can you do to eat better on a budget?

  • Never, and I mean NEVER, go grocery shopping hungry!

  • Make a list of what you want to buy and stick to it.

  • Avoid most of the aisles in the supermarket and shop on the outside - like the fruit and vegetable section, the meat and eggs, milk and dairy and finally the frozen foods section

  • This will help you avoid all the packaged stuff!

  • Buy frozen if you can't afford fresh. Frozen fruit and veg is snap frozen, meaning most of the time will hold more nutrition than the fresh stuff!

  • Check out The FOODcents Program for recipe ideas!

  • And finally... Forget gluten-free options (unless you need them), fancy salts and sugars (i.e. Himalayan salt, or raw coconut sugar), coconut oils and products, fancy grains... Actually, just forget the 'health food' aisle as a whole! You DON'T need to be buying these products as a part of your weekly or fortnightly shop. They're way too expensive, and just so very unnecessary.

Now, let's cut to the chase, and let me present you with this amazing chicken stir fry recipe. It's packed full of veg, protein and healthy fats; and the flavour is amazing!!! But, best of all, it will cost you $3.00 for each serve. (WOAH?! Right?)

Budget Chicken Stir Fry

Total cost = $12.30

Serves = 4

Difficulty = Very easy

Preparation time = 10 minutes

Cooking time = 10 minutes


  • 400g chicken breast or thigh $4

  • 1 onion, sliced $0.75

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed $0.3

  • 2 tsp olive oil $0.16

  • 1 carrot, cut into strips $0.43

  • 1 capsicum, cut into strips $2.4

  • ½ C sliced mushrooms $2.16

  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into chunks $0.51

  • 1/2 cup stock $0.85

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce $0.076

  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce $0.08

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter $0.26

  • 1 tablespoon plain flour $0.01

  • Vermicelli rice noodles $0.4


  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips

  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat

  3. Add oil, onion and garlic, and stir until onion is soft.

  4. Add chicken and stir-fry until the outside is browned.

  5. Add remaining vegetables and stir well while cooking.

  6. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sweet chili and peanut butter with the flour to make a smooth paste. Add the stock and stir well.

  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and stir well, cooking until the sauce bubbles and thickens.

  8. Serve the stir-fry with cooked vermicelli rice noodles (as per packet instructions.

Enjoy my lovelies!!

Lots of love,

ADM xx

Joyce Haddad, Director of A Dietitian's Mission, is an Adelaide based Dietitian, Nutritionist and Master Personal Trainer with a passion for health and wellbeing. ADM aims to help the public make informed and realistic nutritional choices and ensure everyone has a healthy relationship with their body and with food. Contact us for more info!

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