There’s a difference between eating on a budget and eating healthy, delicious food on a budget. Below are our top tips for eating foods that will help you stay well – physically and mentally – during the coronavirus pandemic.


1. Start with healthy recipes that won’t break the bank

LiveLighter recipes from their website

There are many healthy recipes out there, but not all of them have a strict budget in mind.

Here are some free resources where you can find affordable healthy recipes:

  • No Money No Time has recipes you can filter based on ingredients and your preferences, dietary requirements and kitchen appliances.
  • The free Back to Basics recipe book on Cancer Council Victoria’s LiveLighter website also has healthy meals you can make on a budget

2. If you can, buy from markets

Especially after ‘panic buying’ during the first lockdown forced grocery prices up, it’s cheaper to source fruit and veggies outside supermarkets, if you can.

The Community Grocer runs five fruit and vegetable markets in public housing estates and community centres across Melbourne. Prices are typically 60 per cent cheaper than supermarkets. Check out The Community Grocer to see if there’s a market within 5km of your house, or search for ‘fruit and vegetable market near me’ online.

3.  Don’t get sucked into ‘superfood’ fads

Anything called a superfood will often come with a matching price tag. And there is no evidence that specific foods protect people from getting sick, including contracting coronavirus. But research does show that generally improving your nutrition helps your immune system to function well and fight infections. Read more about what to eat while you stay home with VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio’s healthy eating tips.

You can also see our blog How to shop for healthy food during coronavirus to learn how to separate the marketing ‘spin’ from the health facts.

4.  Get support when you need to

If you’re unable to put food on the table, contact your local council or visit the Ask Izzy website to find out where you can access food relief services in your local area.

It’s important to note that large organisations such as FoodBank, SecondBite and Oz Harvest don’t distribute food directly to people. Instead, these organisations distribute food to local community food relief agencies, so contact your council to find out the best way to get help.

The government also has free food and personal care packages available to Victorians doing it tough during the coronavirus pandemic. More information here.