Food that KEEPS: Saving your money, saving your health, saving the planet

ACTION: Adapting CANSAS to Individuals’ Own Needs                                                 Recovery Conversation Theme #2: Meals and Shopping 

By Grant J Everett 


Eating healthy can often mean eating cheaply. Cutting down on unhealthy, calorie-rich junk, fatty meats and sweetened dairy while increasing your fresh vegetable and fresh fruit intake is a great way to reduce your grocery bills while doing your body a favour. 

One drawback to healthy, fresh, natural foodstuffs that aren’t loaded with the salt, fat and sugar of garbage snacks is that they tend to have a much shorter use-by date. So while eating right is usually associated with making more frequent trips to the supermarket, you can keep a variety of healthy food for quite a bit of time if you store them under the right conditions. 

As Australians throw away an incredible amount of food each year, it is also essential that you plan your meals. For instance, if you want chicken on Thursday, plan accordingly with when you purchase it. Allowing food to go bad is like tossing money into the bin, but with a little forethought you could save hundreds of dollars every year. 

Here are some foods that are great for your body, and will keep for ages. 

Foods to keep in a cool, dry, dark place 

Nuts: High in protein, fat and fibre. Keep them in the shell 

Canned meats: Protein 

Canned seafood: Protein and omega-3 fatty acids 

Dried grains: Gluten-free grains include rice, buckwheat and certain oats. Keep them airtight 

Dark chocolate: Fibre, magnesium and more 

Canned fruits and vegetables: Fermented, pickled, or preserved in airtight containers 

Dried fruit: Fibre and other nutrients, but high in sugar and calories 

Beans: Among the most nutritious of foods, loaded with protein, fibre and minerals like magnesium. Canned beans last a lot longer than dried beans 

Jerky: Any meat can be turned into high-protein jerky and stored in airtight packaging 

Protein powders, like whey protein: Great for smoothies. 

Dehydrated milk powder

Meat isn’t the enemy, but steering away from fatty cuts, cooking in less oil and serving smaller portions with heaps of fresh veggies can make a big difference to nutrition. Cutting back on sauces and gravies will cut back on the calories. 

Honey: A natural antibiotic, healthier than refined sugar, but consume in moderation. Indefinite shelflife 

Olive oil: Many health benefits 

Canned olives: A healthy source of fat 

Seeds: Flax, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide protein, fat and a lot of fibre 

Vinegar: If sealed, lasts indefinitely. 

Wine: Red wine has impressive health benefits in moderation 

Salt: It’s an inhospitable environment for bacteria, and never spoils 

Dried herbs and spices 

Potatoes: Note that apples and onions emit a gas that ripens and rots potatoes, so store them separately 

Pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Store them in a single layer to keep them fresh 


Peanut butter. Stir before use. 


Dry pasta: Whole wheat or vegetable pasta has the highest nutritional content 

Canned vegetable juice 

Garlic bulbs 

Foods to refrigerate in the crisper 

Cabbage: Use in place of lettuce in salads and sandwiches 

Apples: Eat the larger ones first, as they will spoil quicker 

Carrots: Put a paper towel inside their bag to absorb moisture and keep them fresh 

Oranges: Store with peels on 

Recommended portion sizes 

Carbs like potatoes, rice, pasta and legumes: One clenched fist. 

Fruits, nuts and seeds: One cupped hand. 

Vegetables and greens: Two cupped hands. 

Meats and eggs: Size and thickness of your palm. 

Cheese, spreads and dressings: One thumb. 



“22 Healthy Foods That Don’t Spoil Easily” 

“19 healthy foods that last a really long time”, Anna Newell Jones 

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