In today’s tough times, learning to eat right on a budget may be as important as ever.
That’s why Crystal Nicholson, teacher, mother and local business owner, put on a session at College Park School last week to teach just that.
“I’m going to teach people how to eat healthy on a budget through meal planning,” said Nicholson before the event.
“That will be the focus of the presentation—I’m going to teach meal planning basics, how to waste less, to plan around produce and then talk about shopping and creating your list.”
She said there are certain times in people’s lives when they need to learn how to eat on a budget and wanted to start that conversation in the community.
The conversation doesn’t have to be a difficult one, she explained, as stretching one’s dollar and still eating healthy is a positive thing to talk about.
Shopping for healthier choices can be costlier than not, but Nicholson talked about some tips like buying lean cuts of meat, meat substitutes and vegetables and balancing them throughout the week so you don’t feel like your depriving yourself from foods you enjoy.
Another discouraging factor in healthy eating can be the time it takes to prepare meals, which can take longer than lesser foods.
“It’s just a matter of knowing what to prepare. When you do the work ahead of time, think about your choices, then it doesn’t have to be a labour intensive process,” she said.
“It’s all about it becoming a habit of cooking healthy and getting into the habit of doing some prep work when you do have the time, like chopping your vegetables, learning crockpot meals, that kind of thing.”
Nicholson has also been in the food industry for about 10 years and admits not everything she eats is 100 per cent healthy, but treating one’s self now and then is also part of a balanced lifestyle.
One of the other things she wanted to put across at her session was the importance of teaching and involving children in healthy meal choices and planning.
She said she doesn’t think enough parents are doing those things, and as a teacher, she sometimes observes the results while on lunch duty.
“Kids don’t know what to choose and what to eat and family time can be prepping and making meals, things like that,” Nicholson said.
“So that will be one big piece I hope, with this conversation kind of started, to involve kids; I think our kids should learn how to eat healthy, create meals and be a part of the meal planning and preparation.”