andy de santis, rd: how to make the most of your groceries

now that grocery shopping is limited, non-perishables are one way to make food go further.

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the way we shop for groceries has changed drastically in the wake of the covid-19 public health crisis.
lines are longer, certain items like eggs, bread flour, and yeast are scarce, and we have a social responsibility to visit stores only as needed. and with health officials recommending that we visit the grocery store no more than once a week, it makes sense to add more non-perishable foods that are also nutritious to our grocery lists.

find frozen first

frozen food is severely underrated, especially in the key food categories of fish, fruits, and vegetables that make up a big portion of the mediterranean diet.
frozen equals frugal, and these otherwise perishable foods are available at good value and quality when frozen.

fish. i consider fish to be the best animal protein source because of its high omega-3 and vitamin d content. frozen varieties such as pollock and salmon when purchased in large amounts are good value.  frozen fish can be cooked right from the freezer at 400f.

fruit. frozen fruit can be used for way more than just smoothies. when you let a nice bowl of frozen mango, strawberries, peaches or pomegranate thaw for about 10-15 minutes, it makes a wonderful treat that resembles sorbet.



vegetables. powerhouse vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are available frozen and are incredibly easy to prepare — even through the super convenient use of the microwave.

tofu is a hidden gem

i could have chosen to discuss the more obvious foods that you’ve already heard people tell you to buy, like oatmeal and canned beans, but i want you instead to use this opportunity to try a food that you may not have made before, like say, tofu.
a single package of tofu contains more protein and iron than six eggs. it also has a longer shelf life than many varieties of chicken or beef making it an economical choice.

you will generally find that unopened tofu has an expiry date of a month from its purchase date. if you d on’t know what to do with tofu, check out these recipes for a tofu scramble or a teriyaki bowl.

look for non-perishables

there are a tonne of other non-perishable items that tend to catch my attention at the grocery store because they’re nutritious and will last a while: ryvita crackers, yves meatless products, kashi granola bars, and amy’s organic canned soup are just a few.

finally, a few points on good grocery shopping practice. if you’re looking for how to sanitize your groceries, cnn’s dr. sanjay gupta has some tips. remember to keep your grocery trips to one person per household and only go once a week if you can. ideally those who are 60 years or older, or those who are pregnant will not be the ones making the trip.

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andy is a registered dietitian and multi-book author who has operated a private practice in toronto since 2015.  he spends his free time eating, writing and talking about kale @andytherd. he can be reached at


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