Stretching Your Food Dollar (Part 2)
Last week I wrote part one of “Stretching your Food Dollar.” This week I was again shocked to see so much of a price increase for various foods. I remember before COVID buying a bag of shredded cabbage for $1.69, and this week I saw the same bag for $3.99. That is such a large increase in only 4 years, where an item has more than doubled, and what is worse, is that cabbage is in season right now, and the price for in-season produce is usually lower than when it is out of season. The grocery stores are giving their customers some serious sticker shock. This is largely due to the carbon tax, which adds an increased multiplier, to all the food that comes to the store by transport. Since Carbon Tax is a federal government issue, it is best to contact your Member of Parliament, to express your desire for this tax to be removed. Simply send them a letter, or give them a phone call. Perhaps if the Prime Minister’s office was flooded with letters, asking to cut the carbon tax the message may be heard where it needs to be heard. In the meantime, we are all left dealing with the high cost of inflation. This is especially hard on single moms, young families, those on social assistance, and the senior’s. While you may be able to easily pay the larger price for groceries, remember, there are many who can’t, so please speak up for them.
In part one, I outlined several points to help stretch our food dollars. Today I will go more into depth on the first point, which is home cooking. Home cooking saves a lot of money. In a world full of fast food there is always a temptation to grab something to eat ready-made, but it costs a lot more, than making your own. The other benefits of home-cooking, is that you do not add unhealthy oils, excess sugar, food additives, and other food chemicals to your food. To be successful you will need a stash of recipes that use basic ingredients, that are not costly. You will also need to set up a basic pantry, of staple foods for cooking. Start to make your collection of recipes, right now.
Protein is one of the more costly items in the shopping cart. Complete proteins are meats, cheeses, eggs, and also milk. Your body needs complete protein. Beans, lentils and peas for example all contain plant protein, but this protein is incomplete. To make meals out of these plant proteins, they need to be combined with a protein found in grains, such as wheat, oats, and corn. An example of combining are; beans with toast or peas in pasta, or adding corn to a bean chili. The protein in oats for example is more complete when a bit of dairy milk is added.
Eggs are another low-cost complete protein, that is both nutritious and delicious, and can really stretch your food dollar, and help build your lean muscle. Hard-boiled, scrambled, fried or poached are all amazing. You can use eggs for egg salad sandwiches. You can also add fried onions, diced ham or pepperoni and herbs or a bit of cheese to scrambled eggs for an interesting flavour combination.
Hamburger, is an easy meat to make into so many dishes. In meatloaf, it can be stretched, by adding oatmeal. A pound or two of hamburger can be turned into a big pot of hamburger stew to feed a lot of people for less. Here is an easy recipe to start your collection.
1 or 2 pounds of hamburger, beef
3 cups of chopped onion, divided
3 cups of chopped carrots
4 cups chopped potatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot cook the hamburger in 2-3 cups of water. Once the meat is cooked add two cups of onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables. Cook until almost done then add the remaining onions and cook until the onions are softened. To thicken the stew, stir 3 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into a cup of water, and stir it into the stew, and continue to heat until thickened. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.