Canned Chickpeas - © 2024 - Loblaw's

Some ‘Secret Weapons’ Against High Food Costs!

I’ve often alluded to the benefits – both financial and nutritional – of canned, jarred and/or frozen foods. They’re actually recommended by dieticians and nutritionists as suitable substitutes for fresh foods…

Frozen Veggies - © 2024 - Loblaw's

Why so neglected?

Canned and fresh frozen foods are both good bets to help keep your overall food bills under control. There’s good, solid evidence in support of this stand. In spite of the fact that many folks – particularly older Boomers and folks under 30.

Why older Boomers? They grew up thinking canned foods were second-rate substitutes for the fresh produce that came in all summer from the family garden. They even differentiate between commercially ‘canned’ foods and the home-preserved ones their moms, aunts and grandmas made. “Homemade is always better,” my Dad used to insist. So sought after were his mom’s jams and pickles that she gave them as Christmas and birthday gifts!

In addition, younger folks need to remember that large-capacity home freezers only came into widespread use when many Boomers were already in their 20s or 30s. They had already formed values and preferences – and prejudices – that would last a lifetime.

However… Younger folks are currently triggering a renaissance of interest in fresh foods of all kinds. And they just aren’t interested in ‘old fashioned’ canned or frozen foods. And their prime motivator when choosing foods is convenience. They’re simply not cooking at home all that much.

Why so healthy?

One thing many folks who are not involved in the food production or foodservice sectors fail to realize – until someone points it out – is that canned and frozen foods are actually fresh. They’re harvested at the peak of ripeness and flavour and colour. And they’re usually packed and sealed in their retail containers the same day. Frozen or canned, they’ll last for months – or even years – under the right conditions. And when they’re opened, they’ll be as fresh as the day they were sealed.

Why so economical?

Harvest time, when canned and frozen foods are packs, is also the time of greatest plenty throughout the year. That means farm gate prices are at their annual low point. So these fruits and veggies can be, and usually are sold at relatively modest, consistent prices over long periods of time.

How economical? A 750 g bag of frozen veggies (pictured above) can feed a family of 4 for three meals. And it’s just $3.49 this week (or $6.00 for two, on the ‘deal’) at my go-to supermarket. That works out to just $0.29 per serving!

What ‘staples’ should you stock?

Soups, stews and casseroles are just about the most economical ways you can feed your family. And they can all benefit from the addition of some canned or frozen veggies. Frozen fruits are great addition to most desserts and smoothies.

There’s no waste! You only use as much as you need, and rest stays sealed in its own can or freezer bag. Not to mention, you aren’t paying for – or throwing away – unwanted or inedible skins, seeds, pits, leaves or stems.

There are several frozen and/or canned foods you should always have on hand. Get them when they’re on special and they’ll cost you even less!

Frozen items

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn Kernels
  • Sweet Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow Beans
  • Veggie Medley (Usually a mix of Corn, Peas and Carrots. May also come with Green and/or Yellow Beans.)

Canned/Jarred items:

  • Tomatoes
  • Prepared Soups, Stews and Chilis
  • Kidney, Black, Navy and/or Pinto Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Tomato and Other Sauce(s)

Pick and choose from the above lists according to your personal and family preferences. And feel free to tailor your personal inventory, adding canned, jarred or frozen faves that aren’t in my admittedly North American-themed rundown.

My take

How you employ the foregoing advice and recommendations will depend on how big a freezer, and/or pantry you have. But the more the merrier.

You’ll find your week-to-week grocery shopping bill is considerably lower when you have an appropriate selection of staples already in stock!

~ Maggie J.