Canadians know how expensive healthy food is but I wanted to share 10 ways you can eat healthy and spend less money doing so.
1. Properly store your fruit and vegetables (and throw out less)
Some fruits and vegetables produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen some foods and can lead to spoilage. The trick is to keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes should be stored in a separately from apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon.
Another tip is to make sure you do not refrigerate potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. The cold will ruin their flavor.
Fruits like bananas, pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes and bananas should be stored on the counter. Once they’re ripe, move them to the fridge.
2. Stretching your budget with beans and legumes.
If you want to eat more healthy, try black beans, lentils, and/or navy beans as a substitute in your recipes for ground beef, chicken, and turkey. If you purchase in bulk and dried, you can get often get 12 servings for the same price of three servings from a can.
3. Learn to preserve.
The first year you start canning you will definitely not save much money compared to purchasing at the grocery store because of the start up costs.
However, every subsequent year that you preserve food your cost per jar is reduced as you can reuse all of the tools and the jars.
Our family has been canning tomatoes for years and allows us to use the garden’s harvest all year long.
4. Switch to plain old tap water.
Avoid fancy fruit drinks pretending to be healthy. Often, these drinks will contain additional sugar and calories.
The best health drink is still water. It’s cheaper and healthier to eat your fruit whole rather than taking the juice option.
Switching your beverage choices to more economical ones like water makes sense.
5. Discover alternative protein sources.
Most people know that protein is important in their diet but they fail to see other protein sources beyond dairy, beef and fish.
Several inexpensive sources of protein include:
What most people don’t realize is that even a cup of red kidney beans provides 15 grams of protein.
6. Buy alternative cuts of fish instead of fillets.
Living in British Columbia, I eat salmon at least once per week. One trick I have is to purchase canned salmon instead of expensive fillets.
Another substitute is to purchase a large salmon or trout and cut it into smaller steaks that you can use for smaller meals. This will save you upwards of 50% when whole fish is on sale.
7. Find coupons on health food.
Did you know that there are coupons for Canadians to save money on health food like yogurt, organic milk, organic juice, and frozen fruit?
These coupons are printable and accepted at major retailers across Canada.
8. Use your slow-cooker to prepare amazing healthy food.
Healthy foods like roasted vegetables or cooked beans can sometimes take close to an hour to cook. Using a digital-timer with your slow-cooker you can schedule your meal to finish as you arrive home to prepare dinner.
9. Buy nutrient-dense foods.
ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index”. An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 -1 000 based on nutrient content.
This list of foods with the highest ANDI scores show the best nutriental rating:
1. Collard greens, mustard greens, & turnip greens – 1000
2. Kale – 1000
3. Watercress – 1000
4. Bok Choy – 824
5. Spinach – 739
6. Brussels Sprouts – 672
7. Swiss Chard – 670
8. Arugula – 559
9. Radish – 554
10. Cabbage – 481
This index lets you evaluate your produce purchases so you can derive the best value for your budget.
10. Substitute fresh for frozen.
Fresh and frozen berries almost have the same nutritional value. Many Canadians do not have access to fresh produce and quite often if you are using the produce for a soup or smoothies or for baking, frozen usually is cheaper than purchasing it fresh.
What tips do you have for Canadians to eat healthy for less?