Diet is an essential component in the treatment of diabetes. A healthy diet can help control the disease and therefore prevent complications to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. For many, one of the main obstacles to “eating healthy” is the cost of food. Indeed, with the constant increase in the cost of grocery shopping, it can sometimes be difficult to reconcile budget and healthy eating. Never mind, we offer some tips and concrete examples to help you eat well at low cost!
The key to success? Planning!
Did you know that almost 40% of the food produced is wasted and of this number, 47% is thrown away by Canadian consumers? This represents a total loss of $27 billion in food each year. More specifically, a Quebec household produces an average of 194 kg of table scraps annually, which is equivalent to a loss of $771. Throwing away food therefore means throwing away money! Planning your menu can help avoid waste and save up to hundreds of dollars a year. It also allows us to make better use of our resources, to develop better eating habits, to avoid making last-minute purchases and to reduce the consumption of ready-to-eat meals.
On your marks, get set, plan!
1. Schedule a time to plan the menu and groceries for the coming week:
Find a time that works for you and make it a mandatory weekly appointment. It will become a habit, part of your routine.
Planning the menu with your family or a friend can make the task more enjoyable and allows you to share meal ideas.
2. Look at what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry:
What foods are expiring soon?
Are there foods that could be used to prepare meals for the following week?
3. Check flyers for discounts:
Compare discounts from one store to another and choose 1-2 locations to optimize your travels and your time.
Over time, you will become familiar with the cost of food.
4. Plan the menu for the week:
Maximize the foods you have and the foods on sale.
Take inspiration from recipe books and websites.
Use the same food in more than one way.
Use leftovers from dinner for dinners.
Be sure to stick to the Balanced Plate model .
5. Don’t forget to provide items for your breakfasts and snacks.
6. Make a grocery list.
The exercise may seem difficult for the first few weeks, but as you persevere, you will see that everything will become easier and easier. The savings made in both time and money will quickly convince you!
1. Promote seasonal and local products.
2. Opt for frozen and canned vegetables and fruits: they are excellent choices, especially when they are not in season!
3. Buy ugly (imperfect) vegetables to include in your recipes: these are sold at a discount and the taste remains the same!
4. Include meals made from meat alternatives such as tofu and legumes on the menu. They are much more affordable. Here is an example for a similar protein intake:
Cost of a serving of lean ground beef (75 g): $1.04
Cost of a portion of plain tofu (150 g): $0.86
Cost of a serving of legumes (175 ml): $0.39
5. Include egg-based meals in the menu. In a sandwich, omelet, frittata or boiled, they are versatile, economical and nutritious. For people with diabetes, a maximum of 2 to 3 egg yolks per week is recommended.
6. Opt for canned fish. They often cost less than fresh fish.
7. Buy private label products.
8. Buy in bulk: so you can only buy the quantity you want.
9. Use the competitive price match policy at select big box stores.
10. Stock up on staple foods and foods that freeze when they’re on sale.
11. Take advantage of collective kitchens (www.rccq.org). If there aren’t any in your area, organize cooking days with friends or relatives. You will reduce the cost of the bill and will certainly have fun cooking together!
12. Grow your own vegetables, fruits and spices. No yard? No problem: plant your plants in pots or containers that you can put on your balcony or at the edge of the window. It’s simple and economical. There are also community gardens where a plot of land is rented to you. Check with your municipality.
13. Watch out for bundled discounts. The