By Alexis Dobranowski, a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
I'm sure by now you've noticed that vegetable prices at Canadian supermarkets are climbing. And, word on the street is that climb is going to continue.
So, how can we keep up our vegetable intake -- or add more -- when prices are skyrocketing? (I've been tempted to throw in the towel on vegetables all together after some trips to the near-vacant/pricey produce aisle at my local supermarket! My grocery list went out the window!)
Daphna Steinberg, registered dietitian, shares these tips to help you fill up on veggies but not empty your wallet:
Talk to the produce manager at the grocery store
The manager can help guide you to what's freshest and tastiest, and can even give you ideas on how to cook them best.
What's on sale?
Check flyers and coupons for what's on sale and plan your menu accordingly. I've never been so excited to see a cauliflower until I saw a fine-looking bunch on sale for $3.99 this week! Sweet potatoes on sale? Add baked sweet potato fries to a dinner this week. And if something is on sale...
...Buy lots and freeze it!
It's best for nutritional value for you to freeze while it's fresh. So, buy double, and chop and freeze half right away. Be sure to store in airtight containers.
Frozen and canned vegetables count
Choose low sodium canned goods. And choose plain frozen vegetables (not with sauces already added) or freeze your own.
Try to buy produce that's grown locally (think greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers, winter squashes). Keep track of what's in season.
Think outside the (fill in your go-to vegetable here)
We all have favourites we reach for in the produce aisle -- whether for taste, habit or convenience. Try to shake it up a little and give some other vegetables that you usually skip over a try. Hate boiled brussel sprouts? (Need I even ask?) Try tossing brussel sprouts in olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and roasting them (about 20-25 minutes at 375 C). Daphna says her four-year-old son gobbles these up. Or, try roasting beets (cheap and delicious).
Skip the organic
If you are looking to save on vegetables, don't purchase organic, which are more expensive and typically travel longer distances so don't last as long once in your fridge.
Make the most of 'em
Make the most out of the vegetables you purchase by using them all up! Leave the skin on those cucumbers, carrots and potatoes, just give them a good wash. That'll help avoid peeling the bulk of them away -- and leaves on good fibre. Finely chop up the broccoli stalks and use them for coleslaw. Or, include the stalks in a soup.
Instead of tossing out that wilted cauliflower that cost you $7.99, or those carrots that have lost their crispness, throw them all into a stock pot with some low sodium broth and make a nice warm soup!
February is Heart Month! We're asking people to take a #HeartPledge for heart health: sunnybrook.ca/heartpledge
Read more heart health tips and information from Sunnybrook experts at health.sunnybrook.ca/Heart
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