With food prices on the rise, here’s how to cook a healthy meal on the cheap

With food prices in Canada set to rise next year, a nutritionist in Windsor wants families to know there is a way to get high nutritional value in your meals, while saving money.

Karen Bellemore, public health nutritionist with Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and Registered Dietitian, has developed a series of videos for the health unit to teach the public how to cook healthy meals at low cost.

It is a goal that has animated him for years, after having worked in the city center and meeting families who had difficulty feeding themselves.

“I kind of started to take a step back and look at what systems are in place that are making it difficult. And really, I just want to… help evolve this system so that everyone can afford to eat.” , said Bellemore.

“Cooking is one of my passions. And it’s really sad when I know it’s just not affordable for so many people in our community. “

This meal serving of rice, roasted vegetables and a fried egg costs $ 3.84. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

Food prices are already on the rise and the trend is set to continue. According to the Canadian Food Prices Report, 2022 is expected to see the biggest annual increase in food bills on record.

It says that over the coming year, food price inflation is set to rise five to seven percent, or $ 966 more per year for the typical family grocery bill.

“The amount is shocking because I know our wages don’t go up the same way. And at the end of the day, if you can’t afford to eat, it doesn’t matter how skilled you are in the world – you just can’t afford to eat, ”Bellemore said.

She added that the cost of food is directly related to the question of the need for a living wage. She said certain groups – such as women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and low-income people – “are hit hardest when these increases happen, and unless they’re making more money, they will always be in the same place ”.

“Using our voices to advocate for things like this will make it a little bit easier to make food a little more accessible is really important… so that we can have a community that can afford to eat. “

Tips and tricks:

While it’s hard for many families to see prices go up, there are things they can do, Bellemore said.

1. Vegetables

Although canned and frozen vegetables and fruit get a lot of flack, Bellemore said, they’re as healthy as they are fresh, and they tend to be profitable.

If the vegetables are about to disappear, don’t toss them, says Bellemore. You can roast them instead. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

But if you’re buying fresh items, it’s important to help them last longer and make sure they get used to instead of ending up in the trash.

“When we throw away food, we are basically throwing away money,” she said.

For example, Bellemore recommends roasting these veggies if they’re about to come out.

2. Meat

One of Bellemore’s video tutorials also teaches viewers how to cut a whole chicken. She explained that so often we pay for convenience. Usually, at the grocery store, customers buy a package of already decomposed chicken and therefore pay more.

“So if you learn how to do the job and have the time to do it, it will save you money,” she said.

Bellemore is also encouraging families to find cheaper alternatives to meat, such as trying to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet, such as beans and lentils.

“They’re very cheap, again, cost effective, easy to use, often in canning, so you can keep them a little longer and just stir them in the same way you would meat – you just replace them, ”she said. noted.

“So something like a chickpea actually tastes like meat. So if you look at a stew or a curry you can really swap the meat for the chickpea and you’ll save a lot of money that way. “

3. Other tips

For celery, if it starts to limp, you can put it in cold water for five minutes to make it crisp.

Eggs are a great, affordable source of protein.

Oatmeal can be used as a substitute for quinoa or rice as a grain in a salty meal.

Bellemore says oatmeal can be a great alternative to grains in savory meals. She also suggests making oats overnight as an affordable meal option. Toss the oatmeal with the yogurt, milk, cinnamon flax seeds and vanilla. Let it soak overnight, then it’s ready to eat the next day. It would cost you $ 2.20 to make, according to Bellemore. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

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