food

What's in my trolley: A foodie on a budget shares her $60 grocery shop.

Three key things to know about me: 

1. I’m vegetarian and have been my whole life.

2. I’m a real budget hunter.

3. I’m a huge foodie.

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I’m a 24-year-old Sydney girl, born and bred. Being a regular gym goer (weights), I need protein to fuel me and maintain and build muscle.

In my shop I choose foods that are high protein, high satiety and delicious. I love carbs (can you tell?) and believe that balance is key. 

I'm a loyal ALDI and small supermarket supporter. I don’t know why I love ALDI so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Germany a few times? Maybe it’s the Special Buys? At any rate, it is heaven to me. 

Everything in ALDI is cheaper than in Coles and Woolworths. Sometimes by a few dollars, sometimes only a few cents. ALDI doesn't have as wide a variety and brands as the major supermarkets, but that doesn’t faze me at all.

I mean, I’m not the type who needs my paleo, activated almonds or dairy free, high calcium goat’s milk. I’m a girl with simple needs and ALDI more than caters for them all.

So, without further ado, let’s see what I hauled in this week’s trolley. 

Image: Supplied. 

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All these items combined costs me around $60. Not bad huh?

This was a bit of a weird shop as I had just moved into a new apartment and was trying to get the staples as well as ingredients for the week.

Since I live next door to three supermarkets, I don’t need to buy everything for the week in one go, which I am thrilled about. 

Now, let’s have a closer look at some of the items. 

Image: Supplied. 

This Japanese Curry Mix is incredible. I discovered it last year and it’s been a real game changer. 

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Simply boil your veggies of choice in a large pot, then add a few cubes (to taste) and watch the magic happen. 

The mixture turns creamy and gelatinous (in a really good way, I promise) and the flavour is incredible. I buy mild and hot and combine usually. 

I bought this from the Asian grocer in Sydney's Eastlakes shopping centre for around $8.

Image: Supplied. 

This ALDI tofu is great! 

I oscillate between buying silken tofu (from aforementioned Asian grocer) and this tofu. This one is definitely firm, juicy and cooks so well. I add it to salads, noodles, stir-fry and also just pan fry it and eat it on its own. It’s $3.29 for 450g and definitely worth it. 

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If you know, you know. 

Kecap Manis is a seriously #thicc soy sauce variation. It’s used in a lot of Thai cooking. I find it really thickens my sauces and adds such a sweet and delicious taste, without sacrificing the texture and consistency of the meal. I bought this from the Asian grocer. 

Image: Supplied. 

$1.80 for this whopping cabbage. I got this from a fresh produce market. 

I use it to make Saag, an Indian-style curry of sorts. I cook the cabbage for 20 minutes on low-medium heat on the stove, add a lot of spices like garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli, and add tomatoes and peas as well. 

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I pretty much chuck whatever I have in the fridge inside. It’s my mum’s go-to meal when she’s stuck for ideas and it tastes absolutely delicious. 

An entire meal, usually for less than $3, that can feed at least six.

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The vegetable of all vegetables! 

My first homemade meal in my new place was stuffed eggplant. It’s a simple recipe I often vary. The basic ingredients are onion, bread, milk, eggplant and cheese, and I'll add other veggies to it. 

It’s so delicious, and a nice and cheap meal, without sacrificing nutrition and flavour! I also regularly make miso glazed eggplant and homemade babaganoush. 

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Ok, so this is heaven in a tiny little 250g container. 

I live across the road from Harris Farm, which is lethal at the best of times. Coupled with the fact this was on sale for $3 (usually $4), I made the impulse buy.

It’ll sit in my fridge until a movie/cheese night but it is so addictive and creamy. 

MonJay Mezza is the only brand of garlic dip I’ll buy (unless I’m in an actual Lebanese restaurant and they have fresh toum – that takes the cake always). 

Image: Supplied. 

A lazy gal’s purchase. I love garlic, so when a recipe calls for 2 cloves, I’ll add 5-6 without fail. That’s a lot of chopping and mincing and I have garlicky fingers for hours. No thanks. 

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ALDI’s crushed garlic costs $1.19 and can be added by the spoonful to any meal for a garlic flavour. It’s not exactly the same as fresh garlic - I’ll admit that. But it’s a close call and convenient for when I’ve misread a recipe and forgotten to add the garlic initially. 

Image: Supplied. 

I seriously love baking. It’s sheer joy for me and feels so therapeutic.

ALDI sell the Farmdale range of creams. Same price as Coles/Woolies, but I always just get it from ALDI. 

I use cream to make ganache, ice cream, Indian desserts and a creamy pasta with homemade pesto.

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As I bake so often, I need lots of flour. But I don’t have ample storage in my modest apartment kitchen. Cue Woolies flour. 

I never realised they sell 2kg packets, but I am happy they do! It’s the perfect size to last me a few weeks. I use flour to make pasta, Spätzle (German pasta) and, of course, cakes, cookies and all things decadent. 

2kg here cost me $1.80 which is pretty damn good!

Image: Supplied. 

Every boujee residence undoubtedly has some sort of exclusive salt. My choice is Pink Himalayan. Yes, I know there are political issues surrounding it, but I just like my salt pink and Himalayan, so I’ll leave it at that! This cost around $5 from Coles. 

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So there you have it. Insight into a savvy millennial’s weekly grocery shop.

Things I didn’t buy in this shop but always have in the fridge and recommend are:

1. Yoguri Protein Yoghurt from ALDI – exactly the same as Chobani but $1.50 cheaper.

2. Woolworths or Coles creamed cottage cheese – it’s truly so creamy and high protein. I know some people are horrified by the texture, but I am not one of them.

3. Cinnamon – the spice of life.

4. Frozen veggies – for a rainy day.

Want to share your weekly shop? Send us an email at [email protected] with the subject line 'What's in my trolley' for a chance to be featured.

Listen to The Undone, Mamamia's new podcast for Gen Z's just trying to figure out life. 

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