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STICKER SHOCK

- Health Unit Offers Ideas on How to Overcome Sky-High Food Prices and Still Enjoy Affordable Healthy Eating -

While skyrocketing food prices may be hard to stomach, the local Health Unit is offering advice on how to overcome the sticker shock and still enjoy healthy eating.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging local residents to shop wisely and substitute certain food items for other more expensive ones in a bid to keep their grocery bills in check. “Don’t feel guilty that you are unable to buy certain fresh produce for your family because of the high costs,” says Rosie Kadwell, a Registered Dietitian with the HKPR District Health Unit. “There are other, more affordable options that can still be as enjoyable and nutritious for you, without breaking the bank.”

While world oil prices are very low, there are other reasons driving up food prices in Canada – especially for fresh produce such as cauliflower, lettuce and broccoli. The low Canadian dollar is partly to blame, as well as a shortage of food items brought on by weather-related problems such as drought in California and flooding in Mexico. Timing is another factor. As Kadwell notes: “In the middle of winter, fresh produce isn’t readily available in Canada, and we rely more on imports of food from warm-weather countries.”

To help make healthy eating a bit more affordable, the Health Unit offers this advice to local residents:

• Choose frozen vegetables and fruit as an alternative to fresh, more expensive varieties. According to Kadwell, frozen vegetables and fruits tend to be more affordable and just as nutritious. “Veggies and fruit are flash-frozen almost as soon as they're harvested, which means they have the same nutrients as their fresh counterparts,” she says.

• Buy Ontario-grown produce that is readily available at this time of year, such as carrots, potatoes, squash and cabbage. Seasonal vegetables are relatively affordable, because of lower transportation costs. To see what Ontario produce is in season, use the Foodland Ontario Availability Guide. Buying locally-grown food also helps to support the local economy, Kadwell notes. If wanting to choose fresh vegetables, people should look for substitutes that are on sale or have a reasonable year-round price.

• Shop smart by looking through grocery store flyers for specials and coupons. Choose store or ‘no-name’ brands that are just as good, but priced less than better-known brand names. It’s also important to look at the top and bottom of the food shelf for lower cost foods, as higher priced items are typically placed at eye-level. Kadwell also advises shoppers to check the unit prices of products to compare similar foods of different sizes. “Most stores show the unit price on the shelf below the product, and reviewing it can help you choose a size that gets you better bang for your buck,” she adds. For more healthy eating on a budget ideas, visit the EatRight Ontario website .
• Plan meals in advance to determine what ingredients you need, then stick to just buying these food items when you go shopping. Kadwell notes that homemade meals like soups and stews can be inexpensive and nutritious, providing a better and more affordable option to ready-made, prepared food.

Look into bulk-buying food programs in your community, such as the Good Food Box. To find out more about the Good Food Box and other similar community food programs in your area, call your local Health Unit office or click here.

• Start now to plan your own garden in the spring so that you can grow and enjoy your own produce at home.

 

For media inquiries, contact:

Rosie Kadwell, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 3238.

or Kimberly Leadbeater, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (613) 475-0933, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 4235.

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