Is it more expensive to follow the new Canada Food Guide? Here are 8 ways not to break the bank.

Is it more expensive to follow the new Canada Food Guide? I’ve got 8 ways to make the most of your fruits and veggies.

According to a comparison of the old guide versus the new guide, done by the Agrifood Analytics Lab at Dalhousie, “the average family of four will save 6.8 percent – or about $1.90 a day – with the new guide” – said an article in The Globe and Mail. 

While that sounds like a win, it’s also based on making meals at home, and that may not be as realistic as my nutritionist self would prefer.

While I’d love for all families to always eat home cooked and prepared meals, our busy lives don’t always make that possible. Let’s not give up though. Any home cooking, with more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein can work out to be more affordable.

I grew up in a home where home cooking was normal. It’s what I became used to. If you’re a parent, think about what your kids are learning from the family food dynamic. Even if you’re not a foodie, chef-type or think you’re a good cook, simple, fast and easy recipes are aplenty.

So in a nutshell, you’ve got a choice here. Whether or not you’re living on limited funds, there are ways to make the new Food Guide work for you.

  1. Make what you buy count. Meal plan and create a shopping list around that. It’s can be time-consuming to start, but you’ll get into your flow and it’ll become second nature, just as buying ready made has.
  2. Buy enough produce so you’ll eat it. Don’t leave it all in the fridge or in the fruit bowl until it starts to go bad. Food waste is a huge environmental issue, so save yourself money and help the planet at the same time.
  3. Make a soup with what you find as you do a sweep of your produce inventory. Potatoes help to thicken a soup, for instance. Squash is an excellent base to any soup.
  4. Chop up veggies, drop into boiling water and freeze – broccoli, cauliflower, greens, beans, peas, and even peppers.
  5. Cut off bruised areas of your fruit or veggies, or areas that don’t look so good. You might lose a quarter or half rather than all of it.
  6. Eat what you have on hand for your next meal. It’s so easy to Google a recipe and specify an ingredient. Stir fry is the perfect place for all sorts of veggies.
  7. Put what’s not looking so appealing into the blender. Try lettuce, spinach and other greens. Seriously. You often don’t taste what you think you will if you blend with fruit. Buying frozen helps so food doesn’t go bad. Especially fruits like berries, peaches and mango.
  8. Buy in season (when possible), and avoid produce out of season that has come from far. Scarcity and travel costs increase the price.

Plant-based proteins are almost always going to be cheaper than animal proteins, so that takes that discussion out of this equation. Beans, legumes, soy protein, nuts and seeds are all cost-effective plant-based alternatives to chicken, beef, pork and lamb. Trying them out and getting the family on board can take some trial and error, but having them in on the journey is impactful. Everyone can figure what they like or don’t like. And remember, no matter what the age, it can take 10-12 tries before a food is liked, so don’t give up!

Catch my chat with Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010 about this topic:

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