Buckle your seat belts- we’re in for a rocky ride! You’ve likely already noticed the increasing food prices. Yesterday, I saw romaine lettuce at a “value grocer” for $8 per head. My jaw hit the ground.
Food prices have increased to record levels, the highest in 41 years! Canadians, especially those on fixed and/or low incomes, are having to make difficult financial decisions to stretch their money to cover the basic costs of living, let alone the “extras” we enjoy.
For example according to CBC News:
- Fruit increased 12.9%
- Vegetables increased 11.8%
- Baked goods 14.8%
- Meat by 7.6%
Want to read more? Check out Canada’s Food Price Report 12th Edition 2022 created by four Canadian universities.
So what does this mean?
Well, despite inflation starting to slow, food costs continues to rise. Check out this articles by the CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-inflation-1.6621413. As reported, people still need to eat and when they can’t afford the items they want, they’ll often turn to less healthy alternatives.
There are some tips and tricks that we can do to maximize our dollar in the grocery store, while focusing on less processed and nutritious foods. Often during financial strain, we eat less protein as protein-rich foods, such as meat, cost a pretty penny. Our kids, however, need protein for healthy growth. Here are some tips to consider to keep protein in your diet when the wallet is hurting:
Think Dry, Not Ready.
- For increased protein and fiber, stroll through the bulk isle to purchase dried beans or chickpeas. While they take longer to rehydrate than opening a can, it isn’t much work as they simmer away on the stove. They’re also cheaper than canned beans (and use less packaging-win!) so you can get more meals for the same amount of cost. Bonus tip: If you have an instant pot, you can speed up the rehydrating process!
Use legumes in soups, stews, stirfry, pasta sauce, or salads. They’re so versatile! Try this lentil Bolognese– yummmmm!
- I grew up thinking tofu was bland mush and wouldn’t go near it. Fast-forward a decade (or two!) and I’ve learned the secret- it’s all in how it’s prepared. Tofu can take on any flavour as it acts like a sponge and can even take on a chewy, meaty texture if that’s your preference. Tofu is a packed with protein, has an excellent mineral content, and is a fraction of the cost of meat. Bonus tip: Did you know whole soy foods, such a tofu, can actually reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer when eaten in a moderate amount (aka. no more than 2-3 servings per day)?
We love this snack or salad topper in our house:
- Use Extra Firm Tofu
- Drain out the fluid, then remove extra moisture by wrapping in paper towl (or a kitchen towl) and place underneath sometime heavy (ex castiron pan, stack of books) for a minimum of 30 mins.
- Chop it into cubes (we like small cubes, similar to the size of dice, to maximize the crunch and flavour)
- Mix the tofu with:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Any extra herbs or spices you love such as paprika, cumin, or a tex-mex blend
- Finally coat with corn starch and place in a single layer on a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cook at 425F for 15 minutes
- Flip and then cook for an additional 15-25 minutes or until crispy (depending on the size of your tofu cubes, this time may need to be adjusted).
- Enjoy! We like to use a dipping sauce if served as a snack.
The amount of prep work for something like this is 10 minutes max and the majority of the time is spent waiting for it to cook or dry.
Still Prefer Meat?
- Considering purchasing whole chickens or the “ready roasted” chickens found at most grocery stores. Surprisingly, the cost of these roasting chickens are often similar (sometimes even less!) the cost of a small family pack of drum sticks, for example, and certainly less than several chicken breasts. A full chicken go much further. Eat the meat for dinner, pick off remaining little bits for sandwhiches the next day, then boil the carcass for a delicious and nutrition broth for soup or stew. This can extend that one purchase into 2 to 4 meals rather than a single meal by purchasing a chicken breast.
Follow us for our next post on how to stretch produce!
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