Can a family have a food budget of only $70 a week and still eat healthily?
Can a family have a food budget of only $70 a week and still eat healthily?

How to feed your family on just $10 a day

Can a family have a food budget of only $70 a week - $10 a day - and still eat healthily? You can when you know how. And I know because I've survived on even less than that.

In 2016, I set myself a challenge of a food - and grocery - budget of only $50 a week.  I was then a frugal single mum with two young boys, with a lot of food in my kitchen to use up.

These days my kids have grown and now play footy. I've also remarried, to a man with a healthy appetite. The $50-a-week limit is more challenging, but even so, we've gone back to it recently to force us to downsize the kitchen cupboard.

The Plomarit family, Nicolas, 5, Irene, Teri, 7, Noel, and Anais, 3, at home, in Panania, know how to keep costs down. Picture: Justin Lloyd
The Plomarit family, Nicolas, 5, Irene, Teri, 7, Noel, and Anais, 3, at home, in Panania, know how to keep costs down. Picture: Justin Lloyd

I do these food budget challenges to reduce food waste and use up what I already have - on average, one in five bags of groceries gets thrown out. But as we slide deeper into recession, not having enough money for food is a sad and often unspoken reality for many. The good news is you can be a frugal foodie and cook fabulous food. I can feed my whole family for $10 a day, and you can, too. Here's what $70 a week can look like:

Breakfast

Porridge with milk and brown sugar. Oats are incredibly good for you and cost about $1.40 for a 750g bag, which lasts us roughly five days.

This works out at around 28c a day (plus milk and sugar).

Morning tea

Yoghurt. You can get a 1kg tub for a little under $4. Split it into 100g serves in your own glass or plastic containers and it'll cost you 40c for each serve.

Lunch

Fruit, muffins and sandwiches for kids, and sourdough toasties or dinner leftovers for adults. 

Fruit is a healthy and filling choice. A kilogram of bananas costs about $2.49 (at the time of writing), which means each banana only costs roughly 35c.

Dinner

I love cooking and exploring new dishes, which I often bulk out with seasonal vegetables and legumes.

Today's frugal favourite is slow cooker Moroccan lemon chicken drumsticks with chickpeas. 

A can of chickpeas costs about 80c (or around half that if made from dried chickpeas), and chicken drumsticks are a great budget choice.

Last weekend we purchased 2kg of drumsticks for $6.99. In contrast, chicken breasts were between $9.50 and $11/kg and chicken thigh fillets were between $11 and $14/kg.

The Joyful Frugalista by Serina Bird. Picture: Supplied
The Joyful Frugalista by Serina Bird. Picture: Supplied

TOP TIPS

Eat produce seasonally. It's cheaper, tastes better and is better for you, too.

Eat less meat Use cheaper cuts of meat. The Heart Foundation recommends one to three lean red meat meals a week, so this will save your wallet and boost your health.

BULK OUT

Beans and legumes are similar to meat in terms of nutrients but with no saturated fats - and they are much cheaper.

GROW YOUR OWN

Grow something to eat. Winter herbs like parsley and coriander are a good place to start.

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Originally published as How to feed your family on just $10 a day



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