Healthy Foods That Won’t Break The Bank

We’re constantly bombarded with hard-to-pronounce health foods with miracle ingredients, but they usually come with a hefty price tag. The good news? There are plenty of other more affordable foods that pack just as much nutritional punch.

“If you don’t have the finances to splurge on some of these trendy superfoods, you can get plenty of the same nutrition from commonplace foods,” says 12WBT nutritionist Lisa Donaldson.

Here are Lisa’s top picks for great, versatile products that are good for you and your wallet!


Things don’t get much cheaper – or healthier – than good old-fashioned oats. They’re a breakfast staple packed with beta-glucan, a cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre which also boosts your immunity. Always make sure you’ve got some in your pantry!

Skim Milk

With as much as 300mg of calcium per 250ml serving, skim milk is the ultimate bone-building food. “It’s an excellent, fat-free rehydrator and also contains leucine, a powerful amino acid that helps repair and replenish muscles after exercise,” says Lisa. Add it to smoothies, cereal or just enjoy a cold glass, straight up.


The humble egg contains 11 vitamins and minerals, and nature’s perfect protein-heavy snack keeps you fuller for longer. Don’t be afraid of the yolk – it contains choline, which is thought to help prevent age-related memory loss.


Sardines are super cheap and a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, says Lisa. These fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories that help keep your heart healthy. “Sardines are delicious served on wholegrain toast with tomato and pepper,” Lisa adds.

Sweet Potatoes

Comforting sweet potatoes make you feel good, and can be often be found at a good price. They help increase the happy-mood chemical serotonin, and they’re low-GI to boot. Prepare them as you would potatoes – mash them, roast them or boil them!


You can often get a good deal on broccoli – especially if it’s in season. “Broccoli is one of my favourite foods – it’s a green dream,” says Lisa. “It’s packed with multi-tasking folic acid, immune-boosting vitamin C and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Broccoli is a perfect dinner vegetable that can be added to stir-fries and curries or you can enjoy it simply steamed.” Found it at a good price? Chop it up into florets, and freeze.


Cauliflower packs a serious nutritional punch, and can be prepared in a bunch of ways. Adding cauliflower to your meals is an easy way to add bulk (without adding excess calories), boost your vegie intake and get all the health benefits of this vegetable. It’s a great alternative to mashed potatoes – try boiling and mashing the cauliflower instead. You can also steam it, stir-fry it, roast or puree it!


Berries are great to pick up when they’re on sale! They have one of the highest antioxidant contents of all fruits and veggies, containing both cancer-fighting anthocyanins and memory-boosting flavonoids. When you can get them for a good price, pop some punnets in the freezer! “Use frozen blueberries with skim milk and natural yoghurt for a fabulous protein-packed smoothie,” Lisa suggests. As a bonus, blueberries help fight signs of premature ageing.

12WBT has weekly Meal and Exercise Plans, Shopping Lists, and access to over 900 recipes, made with simple, affordable ingredients.

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  1. Hi im Tai i really need help to loose weight but i dont know how to start nd how it works to controll my diet

    1. Hi Tai – We totally understand how getting started with healthy eating may seem overwhelming. Especially with such conflicting advice in the world of media. The great thing about 12WBT is that we help to simplify things by going back to the basic principles of health and that is- eat wholesome fresh foods, not too much, move your body every day and stay consistent. Our Program provides all the tools you need to create permanent lifelong eating and exercise habits. Here’s a link to our website to find out more: You may even like to try a free recipe or two.

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  2. Hi there! I am struggling to lose post baby weight while breastfeeding and with limited funds. The problem is that I’m just so hungry all the time, and as soon as I start exercising and trying to diet, it seems to make my baby fussy.
    He’s 7 months old now and I was really hoping to get back on track.
    Any advice would be great thanks!

    1. Hi Laura – Sorry to hear of your struggles. It’s important to remember that producing milk is hard work in itself, and we don’t recommend our breastfeeding mums drop below 1800 cals per day until bubs is on solids. Aim for 3 main meals and two snacks spread out across your day, so that you’re eating something every 3 hours or so. Eating less than this can make weight loss harder- especially if you’re adding exercise into the mix! It’s equally important to increase your fluid intake if you begin exercising too, as this can impact on your supply also.

      Wishing you all the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  3. Do you do diet plans for vegetarians? And vegans?

    1. Hi Mary – Absolutely! We have a Vegetarian Meal Plan option you can select when you join the program.

      Whilst we don’t have a separate Vegan Meal Plan, we have many Vegan 12WBT members. You have the flexibility to customise your Meal Plan and you can use recipes to suit your needs (e.g. replace cows milk with soy/nut milk, replace cheese with avocado/hummus/nut butter, etc.). We have over 100 vegan recipes so there’s a great variety to try.

      If you have any further questions, please contact our amazing Support Crew at

      Hope to have you on board soon! 🙂

      12WBT Support Crew

  4. I’m trying to count my daily calories but struggle when i make things from scratch such as pumpkin soup. How do i work out the amount of calories i actually have when i may only have 2 cups of the soup?

    1. Hi Denise – It is great to see you are tracking your calories. Periodic or short term ‘calorie tracking’ is a great way to ‘refresh’ our eyes as to the portion sizes of meals and also assist us learning better choices among comparable foods. We have a great Calorie Look-up tool available on the 12WBT program, but we would also suggest you can look for a smart phone APP or online calorie database i.e My Fitness Pal or Calorie King which would assist you working out your Pumpkin Soup calories.
      To calculate the calories in your serving, you could write down all of your pumpkin soup ingredients. Next to each of these ingredients (using your calorie tracker) write down the calories for the weight of each ingredient (i.e 350 grams of pumpkin= X calories). Add up all of the calories for all of the ingredients which go into the soup. This number is the TOTAL calories in the soup. You will need to then work out how many calories you have in one serving by either separating into equal quantities (i.e 10 cups) OR you can weigh the soup and then weigh your single serve. Divide the single serve weight by your TOTAL soup weight (this will give you a value which we can call ‘Z’). Take the total calories which you worked out for the soup and multiply it by your ‘Z’ value. This is your calories per serve.
      We promise you that you will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Most Calorie Trackers have the ability to enter a recipe and then number of serves and then the APP or site calculates the single serve calories for you.
      Enjoy your soup Denise!

      12WBT Support Crew

  5. Is it better calorie wise to have Skim Milk instead of Lite milk. I was told there are many chemicals as well as artificial sweetner in skim milk is that true?

    1. Hi Debbie – Skim milk is lower in calories than lite milk – 36 calories/100ml (skim) vs 51 calories/100ml (lite). Skim milk is simply full fat milk with the fat/cream ‘skimmed’ off the top. There is no added sugar, sweetener or chemicals… it’s just that the fat is removed. Whichever milk you prefer is perfectly fine, as long as you count the calories towards your daily allowance.

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  6. I’ve seen cauliflower being used as a substitute for cous cous. Any idea how to make that?

    1. Hi Laura – Yes, cauliflower ‘rice’ is a thing! To make this, chop cauliflower into small florets and place in a food processor – chop/process until fine. Then, pop it in the microwave or in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to cook and soften. There will be loads of recipes online but this is a really simple way to try cauliflower ‘rice’. Enjoy!

      12WBT Support Crew

  7. Frozen veggies okay I’m a shift worker

    1. Leanne, frozen veggies are fine as they are snap frozen straight after being pieced and are picked when they are ripest.

  8. Coles are now doing Australian frozen blueberries with the Australian kangaroo logo! Hooray

  9. Find these food tips very helpful.

  10. Are frozen berries safe to eat now after the recent publicity re health issues around berries imported from China and maybe Chile? Thanks

    1. Hi Dorothy,

      Yes, frozen berries are okay to eat. Those brands that have had problems in the past have recalled their products and all others seem to be fine. If you prefer, you can choose frozen berries that are sourced locally, or buy fresh.

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