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Tips for eating veggies on a budget

veggie aisle

We hear somewhere almost every day: “Eat well!” and “Add more vegetables to your diet”. But how can we keep up our vegetable intake – or add more! – when prices of fresh vegetables can be quite high?

Daphna Steinberg, registered dietitian, shares these tips to help you fill up on veggies but not empty your wallet:

Talk to the produce manager at the grocery store

The manager can help guide you to what’s freshest and tastiest, and can even give you ideas on how to cook them best.

What’s on sale?

Check flyers and coupons for what’s on sale and plan your menu accordingly. I am never excited to see a cauliflower until I see a fine-looking bunch on sale for $3.99! Sweet potatoes on sale? Add baked sweet potato fries to a dinner this week. And if something is on sale…

…Buy lots and freeze it!

It’s best for nutritional value for you to freeze while it’s fresh. So, buy double, and chop and freeze half right away. Be sure to store in airtight containers.

Frozen and canned vegetables count

Choose low sodium canned goods. And choose plain frozen vegetables (not with sauces already added) or freeze your own.

Shop local

Try to buy produce that’s grown locally (think greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers, winter squashes). Keep track of what’s in season.

Think outside the {fill in your go-to vegetable here}

We all have favourites we reach for in the produce aisle – whether for taste, habit or convenience. Try to shake it up a little and give some other vegetables that you usually skip over a try. Hate boiled brussel sprouts? (need I even ask?) Try tossing brussel sprouts in olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and roasting them (about 20-25 minutes at 375 C). Daphna says her eight-year-old son gobbles these up. Or, try roasting beets (cheap and delicious).

Skip the organic

If you are looking to save on vegetables, don’t purchase organic, which are more expensive and typically travel longer distances so don’t last as long once in your fridge.

Make the most of  ’em

Make the most out of the vegetables you purchase by using them all up! Leave the skin on those cucumbers, carrots and potatoes, just give them a good wash. That’ll help avoid peeling the bulk of them away – and leaves on good fibre. Finely chop up the broccoli stalks and use them for coleslaw. Or, include the stalks in a soup.

Soup’s on

Instead of tossing out that wilted cauliflower that cost you $5.99, or those carrots that have lost their crispness, throw them all into a stock pot with some low sodium broth and make a nice warm soup.


(This post was reviewed and updated Feb. 7, 2020)

About the author

Alexis Dobranowski

Alexis Dobranowski is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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