Avoiding processed foods and exercising regularly are two recommended lifestyle choices to better health. For students, seniors and young families – who are often mindful of cost – eating healthier doesn’t mean paying more. Shopping smarter is the key.
Start with a weekly meal plan to use up what you already have. It’ll help prevent food from going to waste in your fridge. But don’t shop while you’re hungry – you’re more tempted to overbuy.
Skip canned and processed foods as they cost more and aren’t as healthy as fresh food. For example, one serving of filling oatmeal is about half the cost of a bowl of sugared cereal. By eating fresh or frozen foods, you also lower your exposure to toxic chemicals.
Canada’s Food Guide Says: Go Easy On The Protein
Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and limit your protein to 2-3 servings*. By adding beans, tofu and lentils (instead of meat) for two or more dinners every week – you’ll get the protein you need, at a fifth of the cost.
According to the Canada Food Guide, an adult should be getting 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The Heart and Stroke Foundation goes a step further and suggests you include a dark green (such as broccoli, asparagus and romaine lettuce) and an orange (such as carrots and sweet potato)
vegetable, within the suggested servings.
Whole Grains Aren’t Only Brown
Choose whole grains over other grain products, but don’t be fooled. Just because it looks brown, doesn’t mean it’s whole grain. Read the label and make sure “whole” is the first ingredient listed. “Multi-grain” or “wheat” isn’t enough. Add variety by cooking with other grains like, wild rice, bulgur and quinoa.
Calcium Is Not Created Equal
Dairy products such as cream cheese, sour cream, cream and butter have little or no calcium and should be used sparingly. Children older than 2 can drink low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk, like the rest of the family. For kids not used to low-fat milk, mix it in gradually.
- Vegetables going bad in the fridge – freeze them or make soup.
- Buy in bulk and stock up during sales.
- Fruit – cut and freeze fresh fruit when it’s on sale or overripe to use later in smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt.
Tip: to eliminate clumping, lay pieces on a tray in the freezer or freeze pureed fruit in ice cube trays. When frozen, transfer to a bag.
*For a complete listing of the Canada Food Guide, as recommended portions vary by age and gender, visit Health Canada’s website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/basics-base/quantit-eng.php