By: Kerry McKenzie
In my previous blog, Eat Well to Be Well, I discussed how to engage your family with eating nutritious foods, low in sugar and how to make meals fun. After that post, I got to thinking about how people are sometimes not sure how to wisely spend their grocery money and how sometimes eating nutritiously can be…well…expensive if you don’t know some secrets!
What we must remember as adults and parents (so that we can teach this to our children) is to prioritize eating well to be well. Yes, high-quality food can be costly, but the high cost of poor health and diet-related disease is far more expensive. Prevention is the best cure, and here are some ways to save when sourcing whole, nutritious foods…
• Take field trips to local farmer’s markets
• Comparison shop
• Start your own garden at home in windowsills, in containers or in raised beds
Buying food from local farmers is one of my favorite ways to save on nutritious foods. Your local farmers don’t grow their crops for fun – they do it as a business so they make sure that their products are the best. Plus, when you buy local, you are getting the produce as soon as possible. There isn’t any packaging that needs to be done, no pre-treatment to ensure the product doesn’t spoil before the gets from point A to point B. Because of this, it is less likely that nutrients will be lost because of the shorter time frame from farm to table. And one of the best parts of buying local is that you are supporting local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food - which helps farm families stay on the land. Remember to visit your local farmer often as new crops come into season at different times. Prices are the lowest when crops are in full swing!
My last advice for you is to start your own garden at home. Research tells us that children are more likely to eat fruits or veggies they have helped nurture and grow. A packet of seeds is VERY inexpensive (check out your local dollar stores!) so starting from seed is cheap and can save you a ton of money! Research what you desire to plant so that you are aware of how it grows in your area. Many seeds can be started on window sills and can be transplanted once they are big enough. This also helps keep the wildlife from getting your seeds. Planting a garden can be great fun for you and your children.
What are some ways that you save on your groceries but still serve healthy, nutritious foods?