Ways to eat nutritious meals on a budget

These days I feel a little shocked every time I get to the register at the grocery store.

These days I feel a little shocked every time I get to the register at the grocery store.

I think everyone has noticed the dramatic rise in the price of food over the past years. And you are not imagining it.

Dietitians of Canada released its “Cost of Healthy Eating in BC” report last week, estimating the cost of groceries for a family of four at $868 per month.

In 2005, a similar load of groceries would have cost that family $654.

Despite this inflation, healthy food is still one of the best ways to prevent chronic disease (which will cost you more money in the long run).

To make the most of your shopping dollars, consider the following tips:

Shopping tips

• Follow your grocery list. Seven out of 10 purchases in a grocery store are unplanned. Foods bought on impulse are often expensive and unhealthy.

• Read store flyers and stock up on items when they go on sale.

• Look at food items on the top and bottom shelves. The highest priced items are usually at eye-level. Generic brands and bulk items often cost less.

• Look at the unit price to find the best buy (especially for fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses). The unit price is the price listed for a specific amount such as per pound or kilogram.

• Limit processed foods and convenience foods. These are more expensive.

• Single portion items are often more expensive than buying in bulk.

• Take advantage of the Good Food Box Program and Community Kitchens in Salmon Arm.

Meal suggestions

• Meat and cheese are expensive. Try to eat alternative protein sources such as eggs or beans a couple of times a week.

• Use meat-stretching main dishes like casseroles, stir-fries, soups and stews.

• Slow cookers are an excellent way to save time and money. Less expensive cuts of meat can be cooked tender with lots of flavour.

• Roast a whole chicken – use leftovers throughout the week and the carcass to make a soup.

• Choose in season or on special fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

• Use bulk grain cooked cereals like oatmeal, rather than ready-to-eat versions.

 

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

Salmon Arm Observer

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