Heart healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive as households tighten budgets during the COVID-19 crisis

Heart Foundation dietician Sian Armstrong, discusses how heart healthy eating doesn’t have to break the budget, and shares with you the essential heart healthy items to put on your next supermarket shopping list and some superb recipes that prioritise the health of your ticker.

Eating healthy on a budget during COVID-19

Kaye: Sian Armstrong from the Heart Foundation is a dietician and Sian's shared with us some great information, which is about supermarket shopping and keeping a healthy heart. So, Sian, welcome.

Sian Armstrong: Hi, thanks for having me.

John: Sian. You're taking me into the supermarket now - here we go. We’ve done all the checks and everything else, and the little man has had the clicker and we've walked in and I say, ah, I need to fill up my fridge Sian, what do I? What am I going to buy?

Kaye: Chocolate Ice cream.

John: Yeah. Chocolate ice cream and lots of nice big fatty things. No, not at all. Where are you going to steer me? What are we going to buy?

Sian: Yeah, that's a good question. And really it's the same sort of advice that we would always give people regardless of whether we've got COVID-19 or not. And that's always to try and eat as healthy as we can. And that really does come down to trying to eat plenty of fresh food like fruit and vegetables and whole grains and some healthy proteins like, you know, your chickpeas and lentil, fish and seafood and some healthy fats. And definitely less of the ‘discretionary foods’ as we call them. Which are those unhealthy kind of junk foods.

John: What are healthy fats?

Sian: Well, healthy fats, we've got, um, lots of different types of foods, have healthy fats in them. So we usually recommend people try and get their fats from things like avocados or healthy oil. So things like olive oil and canola oil. And then also of course, your nuts and seeds have some healthy fats in them.

Kaye: When I go to the supermarket, I make the mistake of going when I'm hungry.

John: Do you have a list? Cause I'm a boy shopper. So I just walk in and go, oh, I’ll have that, I’ll have that.

Kaye: Oh Lord. Sian, I think we need your good sense here.

John: We do. Sian save us.

Sian: Going to the supermarket hungry is, you know, a very risky thing to do. I think it's always a good idea to not go when hungry and also to have a list is really important, particularly at the moment when we're all trying to get in and out of the supermarket as quickly as possible and go as infrequently as possible. It's really important that before you go try and do a bit of planning, think about what you're going to eat for all your meals for the next week or so - as long as you can. We are all going to be at home all the time, so we know where we're going to be eating. So if you make a list, check what's in your pantry before you go so you don't double up or get a bit confused when you get there, and then write that list and stick to it as much as you can and try to avoid, you know, getting sucked in by some of those shiny packets that are full of chocolate and lollies and chips cause you know once you’ve got them at home they’re very hard to resist.

John: The one that are really prominently displayed.

Sian: Yes. They can often be very prominently displayed, but if you’re hungry, it's even harder to resist.

Kaye: So Sian, you mentioned that you are helping people shop, not just for heart health, but keeping within a limited retirement income. Can you tease out that point for us, please?

Sian: Yeah. of course. So, obviously sometimes food can get quite expensive or it can seem expensive, but to eat healthy you don't just have to buy all the fancy superfoods and the really expensive foods. It can be really simple. So like I mentioned, that fruit and vegetables are really important for a healthy diet. But at the moment, sometimes we're saying that some of the fresh versions can be quite expensive due to a number of different factors, but the canned and the frozen options are great alternatives to the fresh ones. They’re usually just as healthy, often a lot less expensive, and they last a lot longer as well in the freezer or in the pantry. So they're a really good option that we recommend people to go for when they're on a budget. But if you are choosing some of those canned version, it is important to look out for the no added salt version. There, just to try and check that they are ‘no added salt’, but frozen and canned vegetables and fruit are really good options for people on a budget. And we also recommend trying to look out for some of those cheaper proteins, which are actually the ones that we recommend anyway. So things like legumes, which are your chickpeas and your beans and your lentils.

John: I love them.

Sian: They're really, yeah, they're really healthy. They last a long time. They're generally quite cheap if you buy them canned or dried, and they're really filling as well. So, they are a great way to sort of bulk up a meal, make it last longer, and like I said, they're really healthy for your heart as well.

Kaye: I have a recipe which is not mine. It's Ottolenghi.

John: Who made it?

Kaye: Mr Ottolenghi's recipe. Lentils with eggplant. It's super inexpensive and it's enough for four people, so you can kind of spin it out a bit, and I'm going to put that on the website.

John: That is fantastic. Does the heart foundation have recipes on it as well?

Sian: Yeah, we absolutely do. We've got plenty of recipes and a lot of them are using those healthy ingredients like lentils, because we're often also seeing a lot of people stocking up on those kinds of food at the moment, but then maybe they're not exactly sure what to do with them. So, we've got plenty of recipes online. We've got recipes that are cheaper, we've got ones that you can freeze later, that's another great idea is to cook up in bulk and then try and freeze some for later on. So yeah, it's a great place to check out recipes on the heart foundation website.

John: heartfoundation.org.au and a link will be, of course, as always up on our YourLifeChoices Website as well. Well thank you so much for giving up your time and we hope that you stay well as well.

Sian: Thank you very much and stay well yourself.

John: I have got one of those (buzz) machines, like a bar mix using it to make a lot of soups, putting in the freezer.

Kaye: And I love that because you get home, you're tired, you think you're going to get delivered food or eat some junk and no, you go to the freezer and there it is.





    COMMENTS

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    Mez
    7th May 2020
    9:28am
    Very good points mentioned like the need for tins of lentils and other pulses which are nutrient dense foods and therefore healthy and space saving when most kitchens just do not have walk in pantries for extensive storages.
    I have a big cupboard for pantry storage and have recently bought a few smallish storage boxes so I can easily slide them out to see what I want to use.
    Shelves at the bottom and top are the ones that need this system most of all but the middle ones could also have smaller ones positioned at the front for all the fiddly little packets and containers so they can be pulled out so as to see what is at the rear.
    Previously, I had up to 3 layers of tins and packets in danger of falling down if one was moved or removed!
    Also bought an extra couple of tall plastic containers for flour and pasta and labelled clearly as well as clearing out stuff that I didn't need or had expired.
    Took a while but well worth the time and effort, and after all, who hasn't got the time these days!
    Most do!


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