Having access to safe, healthy food is a growing problem in Canada due to financial limitations. Research shows that 1.6 million Canadians (1 in 8 families) experienced food insecurity in 2011. Saying that, the root of this problem needs to be addressed at a policy level. However, we can also make changes that will help us incoorerpate a healthy lifestyle by stretching our food budget!
Here are some quick tips for stretching your food budget:
1. Plan your meals for the week before you get groceries. Using a program like Eatracker can help you map out a healthy week. Visit: www.eatracker.ca
2. Look for sales in grocery flyers. Some grocery stores offer price-matching deals so you don’t have to go to multiple stores. Just bring the flyer and they’ll match the competitors’ price.
3. Shop the sales – bulk up on staple items like olive oil, lentils, canned light tuna or salmon and other pantry items.
4. Choose vegetarian meals more often. Dried beans, peas, grains, natural peanut butter, frozen vegetables and fruit and some seasonal produce is far less expensive than meat, fish or poultry. You can still meet your protein needs without meat, fish or poultry.
5. Don’t shop hungry. You’ll be tempted to buy less healthy food that is not in your budget.
6. Use the FREEZER! When on sale, buy and stock up on poultry, fish and lean meat and freeze for later use. It’s also a great idea to cook large batches of meals so you can freeze individual portions. This is way more economical than microwave dinners, and doesn’t contain the added sodium and other preservatives.
7. Bring meals and snacks when you’re going out to avoid spending money on restaurants and the vending machine.
8. Invest in a water bottle and bring it with you where ever you go! This will help decrease the money spent on drinks and also decrease the chance of you picking up a sugary drink. Having a water bottle on hand will also help keep you hydrated and ensure that you are getting your recommneded daily intake of water of at least 2L.
These are just a few quick, healthful tips that will help you make the bank instead of break it!
Have a good week all!