Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy eating pattern. They are great sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Eating more fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. Try these tips to help you eat more fruits and vegetables while keeping the cost down.
Before grocery shopping, look at store flyers or online for the specials for the week. Plan your meals around fruits and vegetables that are on sale to save money. Meal planning helps you get meals on the table more quickly with less stress. Planning can help prevent waste by ensuring you buy only what you need and will use.
Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season
Shop at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or U-pick farms to save money on locally grown fruits and vegetables. For a guide on when Atlantic Canadian produce is in season, see www.sobeys.com/en/articles/whats-season-guide-canadian-produce-east.
Some fresh produce is a good buy all year round
Examples include potatoes, carrots, onions, apples and bananas.
Join a food buying club
Community Food Smart by Foods of the Fundy Valley (FFV) is a monthly, bulk food buying club for those interested in buying quality fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Each food bag costs $15, contains approximately $30-35 worth of produce at retail value, and can conveniently be paid by e-transfer. Pick-up is on the last Wednesday of the month and is available in Hillsborough, Riverside-Albert and Alma.
Avoid prepared produce
Prepared food costs more, so avoid buying prepared fresh fruits and vegetables. Save money by cutting and washing them yourself.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be as nutritious as fresh
Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness and frozen within hours, which locks in their nutrients and flavour. Look for no name or store brands as they usually cost less. Frozen fruits and vegetables keep well and are always ready to be added to other menu items. Save time on meal preparation by purchasing convenient frozen options, such as diced onion, sliced peppers and cubed avocado. Choose plain frozen fruits and vegetables without added sugars, seasoning or sauces.
Canned fruits and vegetables can be a healthy choice
Like frozen fruits and vegetables, canned fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and processed quickly to ensure the best flavour and nutrient quality. Canned foods are a convenient and affordable way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. The long shelf life makes it a good option for those who often throw away fresh produce due to spoilage.
Choose canned fruit with little or no added sugar. Canned fruit packed in water is the best option. If you can’t find this, drain and rinse the fruit to wash away the fruit juice/syrup. For vegetables, choose canned vegetables with little or no added salt. If not available, drain and rinse your canned vegetables to reduce the salt content.
Try growing your own fruits and vegetables in a small garden, window box or containers, or join the Garden Club for only $20. The Garden Club is a community garden located in Hillsborough. They will provide you with everything you need to grow your own produce, and hold several workshops during the summer. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try these ideas to enjoy fruits and vegetables more often
- Add fruit to salads, for example, mandarin oranges, sliced strawberries, raisins or chopped apples.
- Enjoy baked apples or fruit crisps for dessert.
- Add frozen or leftover vegetables to soups, chili, stews or salads.
- Add peas, broccoli or cauliflower to macaroni and cheese.
- Add frozen or dried fruit to cereal, yogurt, pancake batter or muffin batter.
- Add fresh or thawed spinach to pasta.
- Blend fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt and milk to make a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to use overripe fruit.
Brittany Butland provides dietitian services at Albert County Community Health Centre every 2nd Wednesday. For an appointment, call 882-3100.
The Bennett and Albert County Health Care (BACH) Foundation raises funds to support services provided by the Albert County Community Health Centre including equipment and staff education. bachfoundation.com
Connecting Albert County is grateful for a Government of New Brunswick Community Food Action grant which helps us publish articles on healthy eating using local ingredients. We invite readers to share recipes (info@ConnectingAlbertCounty.org).