Food substitutions that will save you money

It’s no secret food prices are skyrocketing, and that the increase is putting a dent in everyone’s chequebooks.

A report from the University of Guelph’s Food Institute even suggested grocery bills will climb some $345 for the average Canadian household in 2016.

“Families will have to spend more on [fruits and vegetables] without many options, unfortunately,” says Sylvain Charlebois, lead author of the university’s sixth annual Food Price Report. Economic factors like the low Canadian dollar and the fact that we import much of our food from the U.S. are, essentially, to blame.

READ MORE: Creative ways to use your leftovers

One way to reduce the impact these shifts have on your household is to reevaluate the foods you invest in, and how you use them in your meals. Look to substitute higher cost items (like lettuce or fresh berries) with lower ones (like cabbage and frozen fruits).

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“Your final product made with the substituted ingredient may differ slightly from the original,” says Alice Henneman, a registered dietitian with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “but [the dish will] still be acceptable in flavour, texture and appearance.”

Here are some substitution suggestions to try courtesy of Brent Furdyk at the Food Network Canada

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Add canned tomatoes to sauces

“If you’re making a big batch of pasta, soup or stew and are thinking of using fresh tomatoes, instead add a can of tomatoes and let it simmer. You’ll add extra volume at less than half the price.”

Add lentils to hamburger meat

Adding cooked lentils is a smart, healthy and thrifty way to stretch hamburger meat, especially when used in such dishes as chili, tacos, spaghetti sauce and even meatloaf. In addition to saving money, lentils are a tasty, low-fat source of protein and other nutrients.

Sub pecorino cheese for parmesan

“If you’re used to buying fresh parmesan reggiano cheese, give pecorino a try instead. While pecorino has a somewhat saltier, tangier taste, it’s also about half the price, and offers a similar flavour experience at a substantially lower cost.”

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READ MORE: Click over to for nine more suggestions!

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