by Marie Traynor, Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist,
LGL Health Unit
How can it be November already?! Here are some ideas for stocking up on healthier choices in case you can’t get to the store. Safely freezing prepared foods is a great habit but a power outage could mess that up. So start with a visit to this Food Safety at Home page. It’s good to be prepared!
- Dry goods, meaning packaged and canned foods that don’t require refrigeration can include healthier choices. Keep a hand held can opener and a pair of scissors close by!
- Stock fruits canned in water and vegetables canned with low or no salt added.
- Uncooked whole grains can be stored safely in tins and jars. Do look for the words “whole grain” in the ingredients list for the best choice.
- Fish and seafood come in cans as do beans and legumes canned without added salt.
Readers may have unpleasant memories of drinking skim milk powder but adding a spoonful or more to food or regular liquid milk can bump up calcium, B12, Vitamin D and protein. Use it for cooking in place of fresh milk. Here are some examples where skim milk powder can be added:
Macaroni and cheese, pasta sauces or casseroles
Bread pudding and rice pudding
Homemade or canned low-sodium soups
Oatmeal, cream of wheat, seven-grain hot cereal or muesli
Scalloped or mashed potatoes
Buy nothing day is November 27:
Unless we grow and process all our own food, and no doubt many people do, the rest of us will have to buy at least some of our food. So, when it comes to food, ‘buy nothing’ may be a dilemma. Still we can shop wisely using planning as one grocery shopping strategy to buy less or create less food waste.
Plan meals. It doesn’t have to be so rigid that there’s no room for changes but having a plan can save money at the store and save time in the kitchen. Get as many people in the household as possible involved in planning. It may save the energy spent on choosing meal ideas.
Use the meal plan to build a list and keep that list handy on the fridge, on your phone as a recorded message or in the notes section or use one of the many shopping list apps out there. While you build the list, you’ll automatically be doing a mini-food inventory. You may find food that needs to be used up and this may alter the meal plan.
To save money on purchases, use only coupons for food that’s on the list; look high and low on the shelf for the best priced item; sometimes generic or store brands are cheaper but not always; and, beware of end of aisle specials – a special may not be a sale!
Remember that even though larger packages are often cheaper, it is only a deal if the food can be eaten or stored safely before it goes bad.
If possible, try not to shop too often. Frequent trips may lead to more impulse buying. Lastly, plan for leftovers.
For more information, see our Shoppers’ Guide to Making Healthy Food Choices found in the Healthy Eating section at healthunit.org or call us at 1-800-660-5853.