Frugal Food Shopping: Healthy Eating

With the cost of fresh food skyrocketing, we have a lot of decisions to make each week in the market.  I chose last week to shop in Chinatown.  I spent only $45 and went home with loads of fresh vegetables and several kilos of chicken.  I love shopping in Chinatown on Gerrard or Spadina streets in Toronto.  It just feels like I am on one of travels.  This week washed bags of baby spinach and kale were only $1, kohlrabi was reasonably priced (when celery was $4), and delicious snap peas were very cheap.  They also had 2 bags of avocados for only $3!!!  Snow peas and Kohlrabi are new to my kitchen.  A few weeks ago, I purchased a huge bag of small turnips for less than $2.

I just refuse to pay the current prices for cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, broccoli and cauliflower.  It is time to get creative.  The turnips are delicious eaten raw, thinly slice and dipped in my homemade hummus, eggplant or black bean dip.  The same with kohlrabi.  Have you eaten kohlrabi?  I think I may have bought one once when I lived in Haifa. I peeled my mine and thinly sliced it.  It is crunchier than a cucumber but similar in ts


I also was surprised that the cost of frozen vegetables in the regular supermarkets is still quite reasonable.  I purchased bags of mixed broccoli and cauliflower for only $2 as well as bags of peas and corn (they are higher in sugars and not the best choice for me but they are comfort food).

One of my favourite fast food dinners is to take hash browns (the no-name ones have the lowest sodium) sautéed with fresh onion, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms and maybe peas or whatever I have.  With a little Frank’s hot sauce, it is a gourmet dish. It could also be perfect paired with homemade turkey sausage*. I also do the same thing with cabbage. I love coleslaw especially in a vinegrette – mix a few different types of vinegar (like apple cider and rice wine), maybe a dash of oil, garlic, pinch of salt, and a little drizzle of honey.  Cabbage is so affordable in the winter – red or green – eaten raw or cooked.  I also make a cabbage roll casserole ( just too lazy to make cabbage rolls).  Sautee onion and garlic, add cabbage, 1 can of no sodium tomatoes, 1 cup of uncooked rice, 1 cup of water.  Sometime I add  1 pound of raw ground chicken or turkey.  Bake at 400 degrees for an hour.

Instead of bringing to work my usual salad of tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onion, olives with white balsamic vinegar, I have been bringing roasted vegetables.  Throw anything into a roasting pan – lined with parchment and a quick spray of olive oil.  This week I had mushrooms, peppers and eggplant.  Delicious!

This is the time for soup and let your imagination run wild.  Chicken soup, lentil soup, cream soups made with almond or cashew milk – think mushroom, kale, clam chowder.  Limitless ideas and so easy.

My advice – don’t panic, buy local, buy according to season, cook from scratch and BE CREATIVE!  Happy eating.  Let me know what you are doing to eat healthy with the rising costs of food.  Write me at

*Sausage recipe – 1 pound ground turkey, 1 tsp ground fennel,  1 tsp garlic.  The fennel is the ingredient that gives it a sausage taste but from there you can add any spices to suit your own taste – cumin, red pepper, thyme, oregano…..choices are limitless.  Enjoy experimenting.  I then roll the meat into a cigar shape and wrap in saran or tin foil and freeze.  That’s it – no preservatives, no added sodium and I can cook 1 at a time.




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