However, healthy eating isn’t always cost- or time-friendly. I love the idea of cooking everything from scratch, but as a full-time working mother of two, my main healthy eating aim is a colorful plate with at least two vegetable options — if not more. To do this, I’ve found two strategies for smart grocery shopping: buying seasonal produce and visiting the imperfect picks section.
Seasonal Produce Is Tastier and Affordable
In the giant supermarkets of the capital city, most produce can be bought and consumed year-round, but it doesn’t mean it has to be. Certain fruits and veggies taste better and are more affordable during peak seasons. Mangoes, for example, may be available in the winter, but have you seen the price? From my experience:
- Autumn is the time for pumpkin soup.
- Brussel sprouts taste so much better after a frost and go perfect with a roast in winter.
- Mandarins are the kick start of spring.
- Cucumbers (so refreshing) are best served cold in the heat of summer.
Imperfect Produce Provides Teachable Moments
My favorite section in the supermarket is the imperfect picks. For those who are not familiar, some supermarkets take all the imperfect fruit and veggies that otherwise wouldn’t make the cut, put them into a different section and sell them at a reduced price. I love the imperfect picks for many reasons:
- I want to teach my kids that produce come in all shapes and sizes.
- Carrots don’t always look like they do in cartoons — orange and triangular.
- By purchasing the imperfect picks, you’re reducing waste because they are likely discarded otherwise.
- Imperfect picks are cheaper and taste just the same.
I want to be a good role model to my boys so they can learn that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge, and vegetables can be yummy and fun (especially the two-pronged carrots that look like little people!). The balance as a parent is to make weekly shopping trips as affordable as possible, while providing simple easy meals for the family.