Eating well on a budget

One food security indicator used in B.C. is the National Nutritious Food Basket

Grocery bills are beginning to feel like mortgage payments.

One food security indicator used in B.C. is the National Nutritious Food Basket. Every two years, dietitians around the province visit grocery stores and record the cost of 67 different food items that are minimally processed, commonly eaten and considered part of a nutritionally balanced diet. The 2015 report was recently released: the cost for a family of four was $974 per month!

This is $60 more than the cost in 2013. Food costs provide insight into the income required for individuals and families to be able to eat a healthy diet. In 2012, 12.7 per cent of the British Columbians were food insecure. With the cost of food increasing, this number is rising. So what are some ideas to save money?

Buy in bulk: In general, the larger the package, the cheaper the unit price. Rogers Store in Armstrong, Demille’s and Pedro’s are examples of local places that offer reduced prices on larger volume sales. However, you will need storage space and the ability to eat the food before it goes bad. One way of getting around this issue is to find some friends to go in with and share.

The Good Food Box: is a volunteer-run buying co-operative for fruits and veggies, providing a monthly box for $12. For more info, contact the Family Resource Centre or

Buy on sale: if your budget is limited, start reading the weekly grocery store flyers and planning your menu according to what is on sale.

Avoid pricey nutrition “superfoods:” some foods may be healthy but are not necessary for good health. For example, foods like coconut oil, quinoa, and hemp hearts might not give you the most value on a limited budget.

Have a meal plan: many of us break our budget when we have not made a plan, wait until we are too tired or hungry to do anything and decide to eat out at a restaurant or take-out instead.

Stick to your list! “Extra” foods are usually not very healthy and can really add up. Shopping when you are not hungry can help decrease the urge to buy these foods

-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.


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