If you’ve walked into a grocery store in the past few months, you will likely have noticed the rise in the cost of some of our favorite foods.The dramatic rise in food cost, thanks to the ungraceful nosedive of the loonie (aka the Canadian dollar) took, is racking up monthly food bills all around the country. This shift is making it increasingly more challenging to stay away from the Value Menu at McDonald’s day after day. But, don’t head to the Drive-Thru just yet. Try these shopping tips first before you kiss your healthy eating goals goodbye.
Eat Seasonally– For those habitual salad and sandwich eaters, this may seem more challenging. Commonly eaten produce like berries, tomatoes, and lettuce are definitely more pricey during the winter months, but if you make some simple changes to the typical salad or vegetable medley, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Many root vegetables are in season this month and can be added to a number of different dishes to give them a delicious twist. Sweet potatoes, for example, are a nutritious powerhouse, packed with vitamin A and fiber. They can be prepared in soups and stews, mashed as a simple side, or baked! For a complete list of your in-season fruits and vegetables, visit Foodland Ontario.
Choose Frozen– Craving that Pineapple-Mint Smoothie on a warmer-than-average February day? Sure you are! And yes, it’s possible to do on a budget. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great alternative to higher priced fresh produce. Look out for sales on these nutritious options and store them in the freezer. Frozen produce has relatively the same nutritional content as fresh, and as an added bonus, it will last much longer than fresh produce. Throw some frozen broccoli into a stir fry, or pick up some frozen fruit to add to a smoothie and you’re still on track to meeting your daily recommendations.
BeanO, Anyone? – Now’s as good a time as ever to start experimenting with vegetarian protein options. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent and very affordable sources of fiber and protein that can act as a substitute for the costly meats that you may usually consume daily. Reducing your intake of meat may also be a health benefit, which is an added bonus to this easy switch. Perhaps start by incorporating Meatless Mondays into your routine and include lentil soup, a bean salad medley, or a hearty vegetarian chili. To prevent the unpleasant side effects of gas and bloating commonly associated with beans, start slow and gradually increase your intake to help avoid your body getting angry and aggressive at your next work meeting.
Eating healthy during this time is possible with a little bit of creativity!