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With supermarket prices at an all time high we show you how to eat and obesity rates skyrocketing (it’s estimated 73% of Australians will be overweight or obese by 2025) we show you how to stay healthier and under budget.

According to dietitian and author of Portion Perfection – A visual weight control plan’, Amanda Clark, saving money at the supermarket checkout and keeping your diet under control go hand in hand.

“It’s easy to be tempted by all the extra foods you don’t need to buy,” explains Amanda. “These extra foods can add hundreds of unwanted calories to your daily intake, contributing towards weight gain and adding a hefty amount to your shopping bill.

Simply following the supermarket savvy tips below is a good way to start.

– Stick to the outside perimeters of the supermarket – that’s where you find the basic foods like fruit and vegetables, dairy products and meat. Processed foods will always cost more.

– Skip the aisles with lollies, biscuits and soft drinks – these are luxury calories, calories you don’t need. But you can have something little if you really want it and you budget for it. If it’s not in your calorie or financial budget don’t risk looking.

– Supermarkets know the eye level and reach level for our children – either standing or in the trolley. So keep children busy by giving them their own little shopping list, from the healthy food aisles. Same applies to partner, keep them involved so they don’t get bored or persuade you to buy what you don’t need’.

– Choose a checkout lane without snacks on display – research shows that there is a good chance of impulse buying at the checkout that’s why there is always something deliciously tempting on display.

– Create a list before you leave and plan your menus from a healthy cookbook (for a range of dietitian-recommended books check out www.greatideas.net.au) – sticking to your list will not only save money and calories, it will also save time.

– Stock up on low calorie staples and buy in bulk when your regular items are on special – good quality mince meat is not so expensive when you get the portion size right. 100g of lean mince could cost about $1.00. Rice, pasta and sweet potato are low cost carbohydrate choices. Iceberg lettuce gives you more for your money than the fancy ones. Choose vegetables on special and in season to fill half your plate. However, there’s clear evidence that the bigger the pack the more you will eat, so don’t stock up on tempting luxury items.

– Make home brand your preferred brand – some home brand items are just as good as the higher priced brand named products. Pasta, rice and canned tomatoes are good examples of this.

List logic

“When it comes to creating a list, another good tip is to create a template of all the things you need at the supermarket so you don’t have to re-write the same list every time,” says Amanda.

“You can just tick what you need on the list for each visit. This ensures you have a range of healthy staples in your fridge and cupboard all the time. It is easier to say yes to the right foods and no to higher calorie snacks if you always have healthy foods on hand.”

Bigger is not better

With our bigger is better mentality a lot of people fall into the trap of upsizing and there’s no better example than food items screaming – 25% more, 30% free, new bigger size,12 for the price of 10, buy one, get one free. This is planned to seduce the customer into thinking they are getting a bargain, but they are not as very often these food are not on your list in the first place, so you end up spending more, eating more and losing less.

Perfect Portions

Only prepare as much as you need to eat (unless you are cooking in bulk to freeze later). How often do you find leftovers lurking in the back of the fridge in no fit state to eat. Or eat until you are uncomfortably full because you want to finish everything on your plate.

If you get your portions right, it’s a win, win situation. You lose (or maintain weight) and save money.

Plate up …

The ideal proportion for a balanced meal is ¼ carbohydrate foods to ¼ protein foods and ½ salads and low-starch vegetables. Portion Perfection has done all the calculations so you can get the portions right no matter what you eat.

Portion Perfection is a visual weight control plan that shows you exactly the right amount to eat if you want to lose or maintain weight.. It has hundreds of pictures showing popular packaged foods, including almost every brand of yoghurt, cereal, muesli bar and crisps available in Australia, as well as common take-away foods. There’s also a Portion Perfection plate and bowl to help you serve up the right amount.

Get more great health advice here!

All the Portion Perfection products are available at www.greatideas.net.au