Edmonton dietitian shares tips to create healthy meals on a budget
For many Albertans, putting a meal on the table, let alone a healthy one, can be a struggle with the rising cost of living.
“One in 10 Albertans who are food insecure, the main barrier to healthy eating in their home is a lack of finances,” said Emily Mardell, a registered dietitian.
“It has grown way more universal and I think people because it is inescapable, more and more people are talking about it,” she said.
But there is a way to eat healthy on a budget.
PLAN MENU AHEAD OF TIME
Mardell said it starts with pre-planning.
“So that you’re only buying what you need, so that you’re using the resources or the inventory of what you have on hand, you’re not buying non-essential items and you’re reducing food waste as well,” said Mardell.
BUY ITEMS WHEN IN SEASON
Buying things in season is also helpful.
“At least that way there’s an abundance, it’s usually more of a local fair and that way you’re able to stretch your food dollars a little bit more,” she said.
EXPLORE THE FROZEN FOOD SECTION
Mardell said people should also be less judgy of the frozen fruit and vegetable section of their local supermarkets.
“If you think about it, it’s frozen at peak freshness, so really for some things that may have had to commute or travel from other regions for a long period of time, or they have more holding time, that freezer option may in fact be a healthier option,” Mardell said.
She said frozen versus fresh can also be cheaper and save you time in the kitchen, as do some canned items.
“Canned peaches for example have six times the amount of folate as fresh peaches. So sometimes just looking beneath the surface you find out that something might be more nutritious than you even thought,” she said.
SWITCH MEAT FOR LESS EXPENSIVE PROTEINS
As for proteins, if meat prices are out of reach, Mardell suggests cooking with plant-proteins.
“When you combine a whole grain and a pulse, like a bean, pea, lentil or a chickpea, you create a complete protein so it can be a very, very simple combo but at the end of the day the nutrition is complete.”
“They’re awesome because they’re high in fibre, they’re high in protein, they’re high in iron, all those sorts of things and they’re really, pennies. Something like a can of beans maybe like a dollar or two dollars depending on the size,” she said.
LEARN TO COOK
Cooking from scratch can also go a long way.
“This way you’re able to use what’s in your pantry, what’s in your freezer, what’s wilting in your fridge, if you will,” she said. “You can make a really large pot of soup for $3 or $4 versus a small can for somewhere close to the same.”
SURF GROCERY FLYERS FOR DEALS
Mardell said planning your menu or stocking up if possible on things that go on sale can also extend your food budget.
“Just a savings of five to 10 per cent can really go a long way when you’re talking about having to make breakfast or pack a school lunch, it really helps.”
PLAN FOR LEFTOVERS
And if you can, make more than you need.
“Anytime you can cook once, eat twice you’re able to repurpose what you have into something new,” Mardell said. “So maybe it’s roast chicken that you make a stock or a soup from, maybe it’s quesadillas for lunch the next day.”
Leftovers that could also go into the freezer for another day or be shared with a neighbour in need.
“Because what we think of as budgeting from a privileged standpoint versus what someone else thinks of as budgeting may be completely different.”
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was found floating over sensitive military sites in the western United States had been tracked by Canada's government since last weekend as it passed through Canadian airspace, sources tell CTV News.
The oldest preserved vertebrate brain has been found in a 319-million-year-old fossilized fish skull that was removed from an English coal mine over a century ago.
It took 40 years, but former NHL player and coach Ted Nolan is now one of eight Indigenous ex-NHL-ers being honoured hockey trading cards as a part of Upper Deck's First Peoples Rookie Card series.
A B.C. man who was mistaken for the target in a police takedown and shot by an officer in 2013 has had his lawsuit alleging negligence dismissed.
Three bodies found in a vacant Detroit-area apartment building have been identified as those of three aspiring rappers who went missing nearly two weeks ago, police said Friday.
For much of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial, witnesses have talked about a generous and loving man -- but prosecutors want jurors to know that same man stole over US$4 million from his housekeeper's relatives after she died at work, and killed his wife and son to cover up his crimes.
A senior aide to Japan's prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ2S+ people.
A jury on Friday decided Elon Musk didn't deceive investors with his 2018 tweets about electric automaker Tesla.
A new research from a citizen science program suggests that stars are disappearing before our eyes at an 'astonishing rate.'
Alberta's high court is being asked to overturn a review board decision relating to the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party on the grounds the former provincial justice minister interfered.
Police are investigating a series of tire slashing incidents in northeast Calgary.
Thousands of Alberta lawyers are expected to take part in an online debate Monday morning over the issue of mandatory Indigenous history training.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
After months of driving around the city with an advertisement for a kidney donor on her bright red car, Debbie Onishenko will soon be able to rip off the decals as her search has ended.
The community of Dundurn is rallying behind a firefighter who lost her home in a fire.
Saskatchewan is reacting to the removal of controversial amendment G4 to Bill C-21 by the federal Liberals, which banned certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
Residents in Regina's North Central community are voicing safety concerns after a water main break resulted in icy sidewalk and road conditions.
A local non-profit is hoping a new office space can help reconnect Indigenous youth to their culture.
Temperatures are plummeting across the Maritimes as a blast of Arctic air moves into the region.
A seafood processing plant in Portage, N.B., has been completely destroyed following a major fire Friday afternoon.
Atlantic Lottery says it has been contacted by a player who believes they have the winning ticket to this week's $31 million Lotto Max Draw.
Speed cameras clocked a car driving 70 km/h over the limit. Here's how the owner fought the ticket and won
After being charged with speeding by a city-operated photo radar device, a Toronto family was able to successfully fight the charge in court largely due to one small detail.
The death of a longtime CBC journalist who was shoved to the ground in Toronto has now been classified as a homicide and police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the case.
Police are investigating a stabbing in downtown Toronto Friday night.
The ongoing cold snap has Quebecers cranking up the heat in their homes, which Hydro-Quebe says has caused a record peak in electricity demand. In a Tweet Friday, the hydroelectricity supplier said that around 5:30 p.m., demand across the province reached 42,700 megawatts.
A reclusive billionaire who headed a Montreal tech company is stepping down one day after Radio-Canada/CBC published a report that alleged he paid teenage girls for sex for more than a decade.
The Montreal fire department is advising people to avoid Sherbrooke Street East at Carignan Avenue in the Longue Pointe neighbourhood as a five-alarm fire is burning.
A federal government department has fired 49 employees who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while they were employed.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the cancellations and closures in the Ottawa area due to the extreme cold temperatures.
EXTREME COLD WARNING
EXTREME COLD WARNING | Deep freeze hits Ottawa, wind chill drops below -40
Extreme cold temperatures will continue to grip Ottawa and eastern Ontario Friday night and Saturday morning, with the wind chill making it feel colder than -40.
Police say they’ve arrested three people and one person was taken to hospital following an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall on Thursday.
Ontario Provincial Police are once again reminding drivers to clear the snow and ice off of their vehicles before they head out onto the road.
Waterloo regional police issued a robbery warning Thursday evening after they said two convenience stores and a restaurant in Kitchener were robbed within a 30 minute span.
Canada's newest millionaire, an 18-year-old university freshman from northern Ontario, has achieved a lot of firsts with a recent lottery win. Here is her story.
Ontario Provincial Police have closed a portion of Highway 400 north of Toronto following multiple collisions due to whiteout conditions.
An investigation that lasted almost two years has resulted in moose hunting violation convictions for six people and a lodge in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.
A fire destroyed a popular paint and hobby shop in Winkler Thursday afternoon with black smoke prompting Winkler police to close off a stretch of Highway 32 for more than an hour.
Manitoba has expanded the types of identification acceptable for use to purchase liquor, cannabis and lottery tickets in the province.
The Winnipeg Police Service responded to two homicides in the span of two hours this week.
The mayors of Port Coquitlam and Port Moody want Nav Canada — the organization that creates flight paths for airports across the country — to pause its plans for a new YVR arrivals route that will direct many large airplanes over their communities.
'Just absolute scum of the earth': Family upset after senior with dementia defrauded by someone posing as care worker
Seventy-nine-year-old William Herbert thought the woman coming to see him was a nurse who needed to do bloodwork. But instead of helping him, it’s alleged she stole from him.
Homicide investigators are looking into whether a vehicle fire in Surrey on Thursday morning is connected to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Burnaby hours later.
An emergency room doctor on Vancouver Island is calling on the leadership of the health authority to resign, saying harassment by Island Health officials is prompting doctors to abandon the region amid a critical shortage of health-care workers.
A local state of emergency that was issued in Campbell River, B.C., following a landslide in mid-January has been lifted, the city announced Friday.
A man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a busy mall in Nanaimo, B.C., has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Nanaimo RCMP.