A recent study conducted by the health promotion unit at a regional Victorian hospital has shed light on the cost-effectiveness of adopting a healthy diet in Australia.
Contrary to common misconceptions, the study shows that adhering to the recommended Australian Dietary Guidelines can result in significant savings of $150 per fortnight for a typical family of four, without the need to purchase expensive health food products.
The research involved a practical test, where a shopping trolley was filled according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines and compared against the contents of a typical Australian family’s fortnightly grocery purchases.
The healthy trolley included a substantial 31% portion of fruits and vegetables, along with essential food groups such as grains, lean meats, dairy products, and olive oil.
In contrast, the less healthy trolley comprised just 13% fruits and vegetables, alongside less nutritious choices like processed meats, sweetened drinks, desserts, and convenience meals, including fast food items.
The results were striking: the healthy trolley was approximately $150 cheaper per fortnight, equivalent to a substantial annual savings of $3,900.
Caitlyn Hoggan, the project coordinator, emphasised the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily meals and making gradual changes toward healthier choices. She stressed that every serving of vegetables counts and highlighted the significant health benefits, including protection against various diseases.
While acknowledging the practical challenges, Hoggan encouraged families to start small, plan meals collaboratively, and experiment with homemade, healthier versions of takeaway favourites.