Budget Tips for Vegetables and Fruit

  1. Vegetables and fruit that are in season are usually much more affordable to buy. Find out what types of vegetables and fruit grow well in your area.
  2. To prevent food spoiling and wasting money, you can buy vegetables and fruit that stay fresh for longer such as butternut, carrots, cabbage, beetroot, onions, apples and oranges.
  3. Buy fruit and vegetables in bulk especially when they are on special. You can cut them up and freeze them to use later.
  4. If a freezer is available, consider frozen vegetables as an affordable option.
  5. Make vegetable soup or stew with vegetables before they spoil to prevent food waste.
  6. Certain vegetables such as spinach, carrots, tomatoes and green beans are relatively easy to grow. Homegrown vegetables can be much cheaper than store-bought vegetables.
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Tips For Eating More Vegetables and Fruit

Tips from a dietitian/nutritionist for eating more vegetables and fruits:

  1. Add extra vegetables to recipes such as stews, curries, stir-fries, soups and sandwiches or brown rice or whole-wheat pasta dishes or egg dishes (scrambled eggs or omelettes). Baby spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot and sundried tomatoes are some of the vegetables that are easy to add to dishes.
  2. Eat multiple portions of vegetables and/or fruit in a salad or blend it into a smoothie. By adding a small handful of spinach, kale, cauliflower or broccoli florets or frozen peas to your smoothie, you reap all the benefits, but will not even notice the taste.
  3. Grating or mashing vegetables into dishes can help to “hide” them in foods and increase acceptability.
  4. Add raw vegetables such as carrots or shredded cabbage to lunchboxes. Include fresh fruit or fresh vegetable as a snack between meals.
  5. Using fresh vegetables to cook large batches of soups, stews or other dishes will make them last longer and provide meal options for a few days. These can also be frozen where possible and then quickly reheated.
  6. Swap some of the animal-based foods with whole plant-based alternatives. Meat can be replaced with vegetables like mushrooms, aubergine/brinjal or eggplant and baby marrow/courgette or legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas. In practising portion control, be mindful about the amount of fat/oil, sugar and/or salt that are added in food preparation and use these items sparingly as far as possible. Sugar and oil/fat add additional kilojoules. Use herbs and spices to flavour dishes.
  7. Rather choose whole fruit instead of fruit or vegetable juice. Juices (vegetables or fruit) have had their pulp removed. The pulp contains the produce’s fibre, meaning that if you remove it, you remove all the fibre. The fibre helps promote regular bowel functioning and helps your body absorb the sugar from the produce more slowly, giving you more energy for longer. More than one portion of fruit has been used to create the amount of juice you drink. This means that when you drink a whole glass of fruit juice, you are consuming more than when you eat whole fruit. Since fruit contains sugar, you are also consuming a high dose of sugar without the fibre to keep you feeling full, making it very easy to overconsume.
  8. Substitutions:

    The following tips can help one eat more vegetables and fruit during the day:

    • Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one egg or half the cheese in a morning omelette. The vegetables will add volume and flavour to the dish with fewer kilojoules than the egg or cheese.
    • Substitute starchy foods such as potatoes and rice with vegetables, e.g., cauliflower “rice” instead of rice.
    • Cut back on the amount of cereal in the bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, apples, peaches, or strawberries.
    • Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for the cheese and/or the meat in a sandwich, bread roll or wrap to increase vegetable intake.
    • Replace the meat/chicken or fish or the noodles in broth-based soup with 1 cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or bell peppers.
    • Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta from a favourite dish. The dish with the vegetables will increase the amount of fibre and nutrients in the meal.
    • When preparing lunch or dinner, aim for half a plate of non-starchy vegetables or salad, a quarter plate of protein (such as meat, lentils or beans) and a quarter plate of starchy food (such as whole grains, pap, rice or potato).
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Tips to Grow Your Own Vegetables and Fruit

What are the benefits of starting a food garden at household level or in the community?

  1. There are a lot of social and environmental benefits for families, schools and communities in growing their own food. Communal farming not only unites neighbourhoods and help combat food insecurity - it also encourages healthier eating.
  2. A range of vegetables can be grown at home or in school or communal gardens from the old favourites like spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, mealies, green beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions to different lettuce varieties, peppers, chillies, artichokes, asparagus, brinjals, zucchini, patty pans, different colour tomatoes, different colour carrots and micro- greens to supply the growing demand for different organic vegetables by upmarket shops and restaurants.
  3. One does not need a big garden or lots of water to grow your own food. One can start small! For instance start with a keyhole garden, bag garden, a compost trench bed or even with a hydroponic food garden.

How can one start a food garden in an urban area where space is a limitation?

  1. If space for a garden such as a backyard, balcony or rooftop is a problem then one can start a container garden to grow vegetables such as spinach or chard, lettuce, cherry and bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash and also herbs. Large buckets, crates or planter boxes can be used as containers. Remember drainage holes are essential. Without proper drainage, soil can become waterlogged and plants may die. The holes need to be large enough to allow excess water to drain out.
  2. A container garden can be moved in and out of the sun. If your plants seem to dry out in one window area, you can try different areas to adjust to what is best.
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