You’ve all, no doubt, read or heard about the 2014 Federal Budget, and are probably sick to the stomach of all the talk about it, right?

From a healthy eating perspective, the question that arises for me is how to stick to your budget without developing a bulge.

Luckily, eating two minute noodles is not the only way to save money!

So, here are The Nude Nutritionist’s top five ways to beat the budget blues – and avoid the muffin top.

(1) Stick to seasonal produce

Not only is seasonal produce more nutritious and tastier, it is also the cheapest. When a food is in season, farmers harvest their crops selling to supermarkets like Coles and Woolies for a good price. Good fruit and vegetables can only stay ripe for so long, so when produce is ripe, supermarkets will often discount produce and flog it off before it over-ripens.

Not sure what is in season? No problem. Simply look for the discounted produce when you’re shopping!

But if you’re interested…

In season now:

Fruit: Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Custard apples, Kiwifruit, Lemons, Mandarins, Oranges, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Quinces and Rhubarb.

Veg: Asian greens, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Celeriac, Chestnuts, Fennel, Ginger, Leeks, Mushrooms, Okra, Parsnips, Silverbeet, Spinach, Sweet potatoes and Turnips.

(2) Eat less meat

Eating lean red meat can be healthy if consumed in moderation. But first, let us define moderation. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013), people who eat less than four serves of red meat a week are healthier, leaner and less likely to suffer from disease. And when one serve of red meat is about the size of an iPhone, you’re likely eating too much of the stuff putting yourself at risk of a heart attack. If you met with a dietitian, you’d be surprised to learn how little red meat you actually need. Cut down on your portion size, save money, benefit the environment and lose weight. #winning

(3) Buy less processed food

As the name suggests, processed food (the stuff that comes in packages and has a long ingredients list often containing numbers) requires a lot of processing just to stay on the shelf. Extra processing adds extra costs. Save money by making your own pasta sauce from scratch, soaking lentils in water or sticking to plain rolled oats.

(4) Walk, cycle or take public transport

When petrol prices are more expensive than Cristal, it’s time to find a more viable solution to travel. Driving less will save you moolah and help you get trim. Burn an extra 100 calories a day (20 minutes of walking) everyday, and you stand to lose four kilograms by the end of the year without making any other changes.

(5) Grow your own

Owning an herb and vegetable garden is no longer reserved for just the hippies. Balcony gardens are super easy to manage and will make your apartment look sophisticated and “green”. Invest in a few seeds, plant and water. Use your natural homegrown herbs to flavour your food and you won’t need to use as oil in your cooking. Food you have grown yourself always tastes better. If you love a bit of spice, buy a chilli plant. It will bring colour into your home and help you burn extra energy.

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