How to Save Money on Groceries When Budget is Tight (especially over the winter holidays!)

How to Save Money on Groceries When Budget is Tight (especially over the winter holidays!)

A variety of protein powder and shakes.

Times are hard right now! Mortgage rates and gas prices are through the roof, after surviving covid for 2 years with so much financial uncertainty we are now facing a recession and of course you must all have noticed your grocery bills have skyrocketed as well. With Christmas fast approaching it may be tough to budget all the extra costs involved this time of the season.

So, how do you manage Christmas festivities and celebrations when the budget is tight?

We are here to provide some helpful money saving tips to help stretch that dollar over the winter holidays. To help reduce the stress that comes with the excess spending and allow you to get more bang for your buck so you can sit back and enjoy your time with loved ones.

15 Tips to Save Money with Your Groceries

  1. Start stocking up on food items needed for Christmas now with a couple of extra items in the grocery cart each week so you are not left with 1 whopping bill right at holiday time.
  2. Inventory your cupboards, freezer and fridge before grocery shopping and think creatively about using food that you have for meals before stocking up on new products. You will be amazed how food gets hidden and forgotten in the back of the freezer or cupboard, and this will help stop buying excess food that you may already had but didn’t know.
  3. Once you have done a stock take of what you have make a meal plan for the week and the grocery list to match and stick to it. This will reduce wastage.
  4. Do your due diligence with checking prices. Sometimes we overlook how much something has gone up in price and if we had checked we might have avoided putting that specific item in the cart. You may also want to look at price comparisons as there can be huge differences between brands.
  5. Think frozen and canned vegetables as a cheaper option to fresh.
  6. Buy in season as this is where food is cheaper since you are not paying for the excess travel costs to get the “out of season” food to the store.
  7. Bake your desserts and sweet treats instead of buying them.
  8. Don’t need to get fancy – shop at the cheap grocery stores such as no Frills, Walmart, Dollar store and Bulk Barn.
  9. If hosting the Christmas festivities, you may want to consider delegating parts of the meals to others, so you are not ladened with purchasing and preparing entire meals on your own.
  10. Collect coupons and check out weekly grocery flyers and buy on sale items.
  11. Make bone broth and soups with the leftover Turkey and food so you are not wasting anything, and this can help push your grocery budget for more meals throughout the week. Also, soups are cheap this might be a great starter meal that can fill people up before dinner and therefore less is being eaten at dinner (therefore the amount of food needed to be purchased can be reduced).
  12. Do your due diligence to plan out appropriate quantities of food for the meal. So, you are not throwing out excess food and dollars.
  13. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry that is when you are more likely to buy the “bad food” and more food than needed.
  14. Do a cookie exchange with friends – you may want to package these out as gifts at Christmas. There is a great selection of boxes and packages at the Dollar Store to make it look pretty.
  15. Explore grocery apps such as Flipp and Checkout 51 that can help find the best price for the food items that you are looking for. This might mean shopping at a couple of different stores, but you could end up saving quite a bit with taking that extra time to find the best deal. But use the apps to help.

Hopefully by implementing some of these strategies you can help save money and reduce your stress over the winter holidays!!

Happy Holidays everyone. Stay safe and warm!


    How Do You Choose the Right Protein Powder?

    How Do You Choose the Right Protein Powder?

    A variety of protein powder and shakes.

    A lot of people are looking for the next best thing to help them lose weight, bulk up or to optimize their nutrition for their own health and well being.

    Protein powders come up a lot in this regard and the question is do they work and are they good for us and which one is going to best for me?

    Protein powders originated back in the 1950’s and 60’s and has grown in popularity over the years, especially as part of a post workout meal, bulking up or as a healthy breakfast option. Protein powders have a number of different benefits.

    The reasons why we like using protein powders are for the following:

    1. Quick and easy to prepare for those with busy lives, athletes and teenagers that don’t have time to prepare meals or will just skip them altogether. They are great if you are on the go. You can take it with you in the car, subway, to work or to school.
    2. Provides a vehicle in which to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into the diet especially if someone is not consuming enough or doesn’t like to eat them. They can be hidden in a smoothie!
    3. Many protein powders include other nutrients in the formula such as vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber so you can get more bang for your buck.
    4. Easily digestible since the food and protein has been broken up so less taxing on your digestive system.
    5. Can incorporate other healthy foods and super foods into the shake such as flax seeds, chia seeds, nut and seed butters, ginger, turmeric, coconut oil, spirulina, matcha green tea powder etc.
    6. If people have a hard time taking or swallowing medication and supplements – if it is in capsule or powder form these can be opened and put in shakes so easier to take.
    7. Great way to increase protein intake if a person is not getting enough in their diet (animal and vegetarian sources), or protein demands are higher such as people who are ill, older adults and some vegetarians or vegans.
    8. Help with muscle growth and facilitate muscle repair for body composition, weight loss and adding lean muscle.
    9. Help with blood sugar balance since protein can help with satiety especially if you add other foods such as nuts and seeds/butters, good fats such as coconut oil, etc.

    What do you need to look for when purchasing a protein powder?


    You want to make sure your protein powder is sweetened with stevia, monk fruit or an alcohol sugar such as xylitol and stay away from artificial sweeteners such as dextrin and maltodextrin, aspartame and aceulfame potassium. Research, has linked these artificial sweeteners to increased appetite and cravings for sugar and sweet foods, resulting in overeating and excess calorie consumption.

    While the amount of sweetener in protein powder can vary one scoop of protein powder typically contains 1-2 grams of sugar. This may not seem like a lot, but if you are having multiple shakes a day this can add up. Try to stick with unflavoured, unsweetened or naturally sweetened protein powders.

    Types of Protein

    1. Whey Protein
      Whey protein is quickly digested, providing a rapid rise in amino acids that can help increase muscle mass and strength. It may also reduce appetite and promote fat loss. For muscle gain this is the most effective protein powder. It is best to choose whey isolate as opposed to whey concentrate as this has more protein (although is more expensive) (1)
    2. Casein Protein
      Casein is digested and absorbed much more slowly than whey. However, one study demonstrated that men who were overweight and restricting their calories, casein may be a better option than whey in improving body composition by reducing muscle protein breakdown and promote muscle mass growth and fat loss during resistance training. (2)
    3. Soy Protein
      Research has shown that soy protein can help reduce high cholesterol and can manage symptoms of menopause for some women. It can also help with osteoporosis by helping build bone mass. Copper and iron found in soybean are essential for the formation of red blood cells or hemoglobin. This may help to maximize metabolic activity and increase energy levels. This protein powder is best for women. (3)
    4. Egg protein
      Egg-white protein has not been studied as much as whey or casein. Egg-white protein is high in quality and easily digested — though it may not keep you feeling as full as other protein powders and should be avoided if have allergies to eggs.
    5. Pea Protein
      Pea protein powder is especially popular among vegetarians, vegans and people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy or eggs. Research has shown that pea protein may promote fullness and increase muscle growth as effectively as animal-based proteins. (4)

    When is the Best Time to Take a Protein Powder?

    • To recover after exercise, you should consume protein within 60 minutes of a workout. That’s when your muscles are most responsive to the use of protein for the repair and growth process.
    • Breakfast, taking a high protein breakfast such as a protein shake is a great way to rev up the metabolism, balance blood sugars and help reduce energy slumps and cravings later in the day.
    • To support weight loss, it is best to consume protein at each meal and snack to help keep you satiated. So having a protein shake as a mid afternoon snack or as a lunch meal is a great option.
    • You do not want to be consuming protein shakes for all your meals as this will limit your access to other whole nutrient dense foods that your body also needs

    What Can I Put in My Protein Shake?

    As mentioned earlier protein shakes are a great way to consume foods that you might not be that keen on consuming it on it’s own. So here are a bunch of options to help boost your nutrient intake and get more bang for your buck.

    1. Good fats: frozen avocado, coconut oil, MCT oil, milled flax seeds, chia seeds
    2. Fruits: berries, banana, melons, apples, peaches, dragon-fruit
    3. Vegetables: dark leafy greens, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumber, celery
    4. Herbs and spices: mint, ginger, turmeric, himalayan Sea salt
    5. Sweeteners: honey, stevia drops, natural maple syrup, Fruit
    6. Fluids: unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, water, green tea


    Protein shakes are a great on and go option for people with various health goals and for those that need more protein in their diet. There are various protein powders out there so best to do the research to find out the best quality brands and which is going to best serve your health needs.

    References —