Spending more of your food dollars on healthy ‘eat more’ food can save you money at the checkout and last longer.  To make the most of your food budget, check out the simple guide to spending on the food groups

Choosing a range of products from each of the food groups (grains and cereals; vegetables; fruit; milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives; lean meat, poultry and fish), is the best way to get all the nutrients our bodies need.

The 'Eat most' foods

Avocado Avocado
beans Beans
Capsicum Capsicum
Carrot Carrot
Cherry Tomatoes Tomatoes
Cucumber Cucumber
Fruit Fruit
Green Peas Snow Peas
Lentils Lentils
Lettuce Lettuce
Mountain Bread Mountain Bread
Mushrooms Mushroooms
Onions Onions
Pasta Pasta
Potatos Pumpkin
Rice Rice
Whole Meal Bread Wholemeal Bread

 

These are just some examples of the Eat Most foods. They include breads, grains and cereals, fruit and vegetables, legumes and beans. Aim for wholemeal and wholegrain varieties.

60% of your food budget

If you started with $100, around $60 dollars should be spent in this section

The 'Eat some' foods

Cheese Cheese
Chicken Chicken
Egg Egg
Meat Meat
Milk Milk
Nuts Nuts
Tuna Tuna
Yoghurt Yoghurt

 

'Eat Some' foods include lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds.  As well as dairy products such as milk yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives.  Aim for low fat dairy products without added sugars and lean meats.

30% of your food budget

If you started with $100, around $30 dollars should be spent in this section

The 'Eat least' foods

These foods tend to be high in fat, salt or sugar or a combination of each. They will cost more, be less healthy and be less filling than products in the other sections.

If you plan to buy ‘eat least’ food, try to limit spending to 10% of your budget.

If you started with $100, this would mean only around $10 should be spent on ‘eat least’ food.

Tips to help you remember

  • A simple way to remember which food groups belong where is that eat most foods tend to come from plants, eat some generally from animals, and eat least from the factories.
  • The Healthy Eating Shopping Trolley is another way to see how much we should spend on 'eat most', 'eat some' and 'eat least' foods to make the most of our money.

*The Healthy Eating Shopping Trolley poster is a Department of Health Western Australia FOODcents© program resource.
Food Cents Shopping Trolley

How do we know if we’re buying healthy products?

For a quick guide to shelf products, use our wallet card guides.

On the nutrition panel, there will always be a 100g column, use this to compare the nutritional value of products, and see which one is the best choice.

  • Total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium (salt) are all ingredients we don’t want too much of. If the 100g value on your product falls in the green column, it is a better option that a product in yellow or red.
  • Fibre is something we want more of. Look for products with more than 3g per serve.
  • Ingredients list: Ingredients will be listed in order of weight, from highest to lowest. If fat, sugar, or sodium are near the front of the list, it is not likely to be a healthy choice.
    Remember
    , products that are not highly processed will have shorter ingredient lists.

Choose the product that most closely aligns with recommendations for all the nutrients as there isn’t one nutrient that is the most important – they all have effects on our health.

LiveLighter Star Card

Be careful, products may use alternative names for fat, sugar or salt:

Names for Fat Names for Sugar Names for Salt
Beef fat Agave Baking powder
Butter Brown sugar Celery salt
Canola oil Cane sugar Chicken salt
Coconut oil Caster sugar Garlic salt
Cocoa butter Coconut sugar Meat extract
Copha Concentrated fruit juice MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Cream Corn syrup Onion salt
Diglycerides Dextrose Rock salt
Dripping Disaccharides Rosemary/Parsley/Garlic extract
Fried Fructose Sea salt
Ghee Glucose Sodium (any type)
Hydrogenated Golden syrup Soy sauce
Vegetable oil Honey Stock / Stock cubes
Lard Invert sugar Table salt
Margarine Lactose Vegetable extract
Milk solids Malt Vegetable salt
Monoglycerides Malt extract Yeast extract
Olive oil Maltodextrin
Oven baked Maltose
Palm oil Maple syrup
Shortening Molasses
Sunflower oil Raw sugar
Tallow Rice malt syrup
Toasted Sucrose
Vegetable oil

Nutrition Claims

Claim Definition Be Aware
Low fat The food must contain no more than 3g fat per 100g Products claiming to be low-fat can often be high in sugar or salt. Make sure you check the label
Low joule or diet Usually means foods are artificially sweetened and low-fat
No added salt or reduced-salt Salt has not been added or the normal quantity has been reduced Check the label! Even though there may be less salt in it, it may still be very high.
High Fibre Must contain at least 3g of fibre per average serve
No added sugar No sugar has been added Check the label. The product may still be high in sugars from ingredients like fruit or honey.
Light or lite Often refers to reduced-fat May also be describing taste, weight, texture or colour. Not necessarily low in fat or sugar.
Cholesterol free or low cholesterol Cholesterol is found in animal products. It will not be found in plant foods such as avocado and vegetable oils. Cholesterol free does not mean fat free.
99% fat free Has 1g fat for every 100g Many low-fat products have added salt or sugar. For example, although marshmallows are marketed as being fat-free, they contain 68% sugar!
Fat-free Must have less than 0.15g for every 100g

Who has time to read labels?

Once you have purchased products that you are happy with for taste, price and nutritional value, you will tend to know which products are healthiest and tasty and enjoyed by your kids and start select these without checking the label every time.

You can also use the newly introduced Health Star Ratings as an easy, standard way to compare the nutritional profile of similar packaged foods, at-a-glance. See more information.

Initial investment in time will lead to quick, healthy and successful no-fuss healthy shopping trips in the long run.

Tips to remember when shopping

  • Fruit and vegetables are healthy choices
    Frozen and tinned products are also healthy choices. Choose the 'no added salt' and 'no added sugar' products when buying canned varieties.
  • Take our wallet card to make the best choice
    To make the healthy choice the easy choice, compare the nutrition label of products using the values on our handy wallet card. If you can't find a product that fits, choose the food or drink that is closest to the recommendations.