How to handle skyrocketing food prices

It can be pretty challenging to stick to a new year’s resolution to eat healthier when you start browsing the aisles of your local grocery store these days.

Have you seen the price of a head of cauliflower these days? Or beef? Or lettuce and tomatoes?

The cost of food rose 4.1 per cent in 2015 and will likely rise another three per cent this year

So how can Canadians eat well without blowing their budgets?

2 Canadian Registered dietitians have a few ideas for us…

Broccoli instead of cauliflower
So much of our produce comes from California, which is in its fifth year of drought, with no end in sight.
Many love cauliflower, but not when it’s $8 or $9 a head.
Instead, try using a lot more broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts instead and encourages others to be flexible with recipes to switch out more expensive ingredients.

Seeds instead of Nuts
-sunflower or pumpkin seeds — because you can use them the same way you use almonds but they’re probably one-third the price
You can toast them and add them to veggie dishes or pilaf, you can add them to oatmeal

Find the bargains
There are also still lots of vegetables that remain a great deal.
You can get a whole bag of carrots or a head of cabbage for about $2, for example — assuming you buy them whole, rather than pre-cut. Potatoes are still a good deal, too.

Cut back on meat
Another key way to cut your grocery bill is to reduce your intake of meat

Incorporating more beans, lentils, and chickpeas into your meals is sort of the substitute people are going with.

Cutting out half meat can be filled out with cooked lentils or beans.

Another way to cut meat costs is to invest in a slow cooker and buy less expensive cuts, which need long, slow heat to tenderize.

Rice or Quinoa bowls are also quite popular, the meet is just a topping and not the star of the show.

Choose frozen or canned

When fresh produce is expensive in the winter, frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative
Frozen fruit can be added to smoothies or stirred into yogurt, while frozen veggies can be added to stews, soups and stir-fries.
Frozen produce does lose a little bit of its vitamins in processing, but “the amount is fairly negligible,”and the produce’s fibre and mineral content remains the same

Canned fruits and vegetables are good too, but not as great as frozen, because fruits are often packed in syrups and veggies in salty water.

Reduce food waste
By far, the biggest way to save money is to reduce your food waste.
A study from the University of Guelph last year found that the average family wastes $28 a week on food that goes bad or stale.
That’s more than $1,000 a year

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