The Easy Guide to Clean Food Shopping on a Budget in Singapore

How to max out your shopping skills at NTUC for a Fair Price.

Healthy eating for better body composition and health has had a reputation of being expensive. It is easy to see how this came about. Just take a look at food places like Daily Cut, Wheat or Grain where a meal of ‘healthy’ foods can cost you around $10 as compared to chicken rice or mee pok noodles at your hawker centre for $4 a pop! This can make it very difficult for people who want to improve their eating habits but are afraid of the additional financial burden (especially if you have a whole family to look after!). But don’t worry, I’m here to help you out. Let me show you how to shop smartly so that you can get healthy, balanced meals which are friendly for both your wallets and your waistline.

This shopping list guide is meant for people who would like to improve their nutrition habits for body co mposition and health reasons but on a wallet friendly budget. How the food eventually tastes would depend on your cooking skills then!

By purchasing and preparing your own meals, you have the most control over what you put in your body. With some practice and experimentation, you will be able to adjust the portions accordingly to what your body requires for better composition.

MY DEFINITION OF CLEAN

Photo by Independent

For the purpose of this article, the term Clean Foods would refer to foods which are ideally whole foods, unprocessed and has a good macro- and micro-nutrition profile which makes it easy to fit into a well balanced diet.

GETTING YOUR MACROS

Macronutrition are the nutrients that we need large amounts of to help with our bodily functions. These are your Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. We would need a good balance of these nutrients in order to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Let’s go through some of the food options that we can choose from at Fairprice to help us reach our macro-nutrition goals.

Protein

Proteins are essential for the body to build and repair tissues. This is usually found in meat, fish, dairy and soy products. While shopping, we will be looking out for foods high in protein but low in fat. Fatty meats while delicious would mean higher calories and lower protein in the same serving which can be a double whammy for your body composition and health goals.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are our main source of energy to help us with our bodily functions. Our aim is to look for complex carbohydrates and foods which are minimally processed.

Fats

Fats are essential for a variety of reasons such as cell growth, energy and hormone production. Most of our meats and our cooking oil will have some amount of fat already so we do not need to add too much additional fat into our diet.

GETTING YOUR MICROS

Micro-nutrition are another major group of nutrients that our body requires. They include Vitamins and Minerals. These essential elements help plays important bodily functions such as immune function, blood clotting, bone health, fluid balance and many others. These are usually found in your Fruits and Vegetables although they can be found in other foods as well (such as Iron in beef). Let’s go through some of the food options that we can choose from at Fairprice to help us get some important vitamins and minerals into our diet.

Fruits

Vegetables

500

Misc

CALCULATING THE COST

Let’s use a sample meal plan which is well balanced, nutritious (and can definitely help your body composition and weight loss goals!) to calculate our shopping costs.

For the sake of simplicity and the main purpose of calculating cost, I based the main meals on the Healthy Eating Plate which is endorsed by the Harvard School of Public Health. This is also under the assumption that we cook the meals in a healthy manner (eg. baked versus fried chicken). I also added a second cost for the main meals (double the amount) as a consideration for those who have a higher caloric intake (eg. athletes and lifters).

Breakfast

  • 1 serving oats – $0.18
  • 2 eggs – $0.33
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk – $0.39

Cost: $0.90 / $1.80

Lunch

  • 1 serving rice – $0.01
  • 1 serving chicken breast – $1.10
  • 1 egg – $0.16
  • 1 serving spinach – $0.53
  • 1 serving tomato – $0.26
  • 1 apple – $0.45

Cost: $2.51 / $5.02

Snack

  • 1 serving low fat yoghurt – $0.84
  • 1 handful nuts $0.24

Cost: $1.08

Dinner

  • 1 serving potato – $0.19
  • 1 frozen sutchi fillet – $1.50
  • 1 serving silken tofu – $0.25
  • 1 serving kang kong – $0.53
  • 1 serving carrot – $0.19
  • 1 banana – $0.61

Cost: $3.27 / $6.54

Snack

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk – $0.39

Cost: $0.39

Total cost for 1 day: $8.15 / $15.26

Estimated cost for 1 month: $244.5/ $457.8

If you eat out healthily for an average of $6-10 a meal for 2 meals a day, that would come out to $12-20/day and a whooping $360-600/month! This hasn’t even take breakfast, snacks and those who eat larger portions into consideration yet.

CONCLUSION

Eating clean for your health and body composition does not have to be expensive. In fact, it be even more affordable should you make full use of promotions and offers. It’s time to help yourself and your family build better eating habits. So head down to your nearby supermarket and try to pick the more affordable yet healthier options! A better body is just a few dollars away.

Disclaimer: Prices are based on Fairprice’s website and retail outlet at my point of writing. They might be subject to change to their own discretion.

Author: Leon Tan, CSCS

I'm a certified Fitness Coach with a degree in Sports Science. I am passionate in Health, Fitness and helping people become a better version of ourselves.

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