By Dani Renouf, RD
We all feel the hit to the wallet at the grocery store when we line up to pay for our goodies. In fact, food prices have increased by about 30% over the past year, which raises barriers to the already-existing challenges of nutritious eating.
As a dietitian, many of my clients mention that time saving is just as important as money saving and ask me for strategies to address both these challenges. Many clients work as well as look after others, so keeping things as streamlined as possible is key.
Here are my top three tips for kidney-friendly eating on a time and money budget:
- Shop For Frozen and Dried Bulk Foods
Although buying fresh fruits and vegetables in season adds great flavor and nutrition to meals, the colder months present a great opportunity to choose frozen fruits and vegetables, which are usually picked in season and frozen straight away. This means that they offer great nutrition, but at a better price. Frozen vegetables can be quickly added to salads and soups, or heated up in minutes for a time-saving burst of flavor and vitamins. Multiple uses of the same ingredient also help to save costs.
Dried bulk foods like beans, oats, rice, seeds, and salt-free spices can be stored in airtight containers for up to one year, so not only do they have a long shelf life, they also cost fractions less because of the absence of packaging. Grains and beans add great nutrition to everyday meals as a source of protein, fibre, and vitamins. Once cooked, beans and grains can be frozen for later use, thereby saving time but without compromising nutrition.
- Batch Cook
Choose one day of the week when you stew a pot of something or bake a dish, which can be portioned out into airtight containers and frozen for later use. If you are “cooking for one”, try portioning out the protein, starch and vegetables into one container and freeze the leftovers. The meal looks like a TV dinner, but it’s made from scratch, so low in sodium and virtually free of other additives. Reheating takes only minutes on a busy day. A win for the budget, time, and health!
- Keep It Meatless
Vegetarian proteins from beans and lentils have a better effect on kidney health when compared to meats, so including vegetarian meals in your diet one to two times a week helps keep to meet protein needs, offers more fibre, and keeps the budget in check. Batch cooking beans and freezing them for later use is a great time-saving tip, as beans make for great stand-alone proteins or additions to soups, salads for those busy days.
Note: Dried beans and seeds are high in potassium – check with your dietitian to find out if these are good choices for you!