Health & Wellness

Why give mindful shopping a shot?

Amy Wilson

Why does going to the grocery store have to feel like you just blew through your life savings after leaving the checkout? Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit, but the cost of food is on the rise and has not slowed down for some time now. The struggle is real some days, especially when you see organic kale at $5.00 a bunch, versus a cheesy pasta meal from a box for 79 cents. Why does the cost of healthy, clean food continue to be outside the reach of our budgets? There are many answers to that question and without getting too political, I am instead going to give you a different perspective on the topic. Hopefully, it will help some of the concerns you face when choosing quality food for yourself and family.

Learn where your food comes from

Shopping can be fun instead of viewed as a chore. One of my favourite Sunday activities is visiting the local markets in the city and talking to vendors. This gets me outside, walking around and meeting new people. It is a cost-effective activity that is good for both your physical and mental health. Talking to food vendors at markets gives you a great opportunity to learn things such as where your food comes from, the story behind the farm, and the measures they take in growing and preparing the food. For example, not all farmers pay for the ‘organic’ label that you see on food packaging. If they are choosing not to pay for the label, they still may grow crops and animals with very little, if not zero, harmful fertilizers, antibiotics or sprays. Cost-wise, many farmer’s market finds are below supermarket prices because the cost of the middleman distributor is not part of the equation, and they have not paid a ton for an organic label.

Help your wallet - and the planet!

Before you head out to shop, have a grocery list ready and meal plans in mind. The National Post published last July that the average Canadian household throws away 140kg of food waste annually; that is $1,100 in food cost! OUCH! Not only is it hurting our wallets, but this action also hurts our environment. Food gets thrown out along with packaging. We also cannot forget the cost and effort it takes to get the food to the stores. Other than a grocery list, there are a few other things you can do to help avoid this waste.

Save it for later

If fruits and vegetables start to turn, instead of throwing them out consider putting them in the freezer for a future meal. Spinach, avocado and bananas are great frozen foods to throw in a smoothie at a later date. Kale, potatoes and carrots are something you can add to a stew in the future. So often, life gets busy and the thought of eating out or ordering in might seem like a good break from more work. If we are concerned about the cost of food, then eating out often is where this will really add up fast. This is a tough one, but there are ways around it.

Make a plan to eat in and stick to it

When preparing food or meals, double or even triple the recipe if it can be eaten as leftovers, or frozen in portions for the future. This can be used as next day lunches or in stews and soups at a later date. Another idea to help with this is to have food prepped and ready to go in the fridge. By this, I mean having fruits and vegetables washed and chopped. Having hard-boiled eggs prepared for work as a snack or a meal and are great to have on hand. Food prepping will be a chore you will have to do after a grocery shop, but it will save time in the future, especially if you tend to often be rushed and busy. Making a meal plan and sticking to it will take some work and dedication, but in the end, our health and wallets will be happy.

Eat well, laugh a lot and take care.

Amy Wilson