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 —



    What and When to Eat to Optimize Performance and Recover from your Sports Event or Workouts

    What and When to Eat to Optimize Performance and Recover from your Sports Event or Workouts

    Optimize Performance and Recover

    Proper nutrition is crucial in optimizing results and performance, facilitating recovery, increasing muscle mass and reducing risk of injury.

    It can be overwhelming on what to eat and when to eat and how much to eat. Whether it is optimizing your workouts at the gym, enhancing your performance in a sport such as soccer or hockey or in preparation for a long-distance running event – no matter what you do you need to eat properly.

    What, when and how much will be dependent on what you are doing and how often you are training for example a weightlifter trying to bulk up and get strong will have very different nutrition needs than a long-distance marathon runner.

    We have included below some simple tips and strategies to help guide you in best practices for pre and post nutrition workouts.

    What should I eat before a sports competition, game or sporting event?

    This is not just the last meal before your event or game that matters but proper nutrition comes from at least a couple of days of eating right leading up to the event! You need to make sure your energy stores are packed and ready for you to access when you compete or workout, so you need to build this up!

    It takes anywhere from 24hrs to a few days for your glycogen stores (or energy stores) to fully replenish after a hard workout or training. Your body can store about 12-14 hours worth of it for your daily activity, but a hard workout lasting 2hrs+ can deplete all of it. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that what you eat the day before is what is fueling your energy before the competition.

    What do I eat the day of the event or workout?

    An athlete should aim to consume a combination of carbohydrate and protein in their pre-event/game meal. This means that they should consume 3-4 hours before a competition or 60-90 minutes before a training event.

    You want to make sure that you give enough time for your meal to digest especially as closer you get to the competition the more likely your stress hormones have increased with the anticipation of the event, and this may interfere with your digestion and your food not get properly absorbed. Also, when you eat blood diverts away from your muscles to the digestive tract to support digestive processes so you need to make sure you give enough time to ensure that the blood has time to return back to your muscles so that they are pumped and ready for action! Choose foods that are easy to digest, especially if your workout starts in one hour or less.

    The meal should not be spicy as this can cause gastrointestinal problems and it should not contain too much fat as this will slow the rate of digestion and your body may not have had enough time to process these foods before the competition (blood is still focused on digesting and not on the muscles).

    You want to include a protein as part of your pre-workout meal as this will create a better anabolic response (muscle growth), improved muscle recovery, increased strength, support lean body mass and increase muscle performance (1)

    Your pre-nutrition should include some carbohydrates, and this is for both short- and high-intensity exercise. This is because your glycogen stores are your muscles’ main source of energy (2). Carb loading, which involves consuming a high-carb diet for 1–7 days, is a well-known method to maximize glycogen stores. (3) But having carbs in the day of your event will help to have a fuel source ready to go before starting to tap into glycogen stores.

    What should I eat after a sports event, game or competition?

    During physical activity, energy stores (glycogen) deplete, muscle tissue damage occurs, and fluids and electrolytes get lost through sweat. Therefore, post workout refueling becomes imperative and is probably the most important meal of the day even more so than breakfast!

    After a workout or a sporting event the muscle cells have increased capacity to take in and absorb nutrients so this another reason why refueling the body after physical activity is so important.

    30 minutes following exercise an athlete remains in a catabolic state this is when the body is breaking down muscle and tissue. The body at this state has low levels of insulin and high levels of cortisol and glucagon. Too offset this catabolic state an athlete should consume a high carbohydrate food and protein within the first 30-60 minutes following their game/event or workout. This is when the body is primed to refuel and replenish itself.

    Post workout nutrition is important as this helps to:

    • Decrease muscle protein breakdown
    • Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth)
    • Restore glycogen stores
    • Enhance recovery

    If you want to get technical you ideally want to be consuming carbohydrate and protein at 1 to 3 ratio this will help to increase glucagon (glucose stores) as well. Some foods that support such a ratio include chocolate milk (which contains 30 grams of carbs and 9 grams of protein) or a breakfast cereal (which can contain approximately 42 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein).

    One thing that often gets overlooked is that any kind of exercise or physical activity creates free radicals, so any post workout or post event meal/food intake needs to contain antioxidants which can easily be found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

    The post-workout meal doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it require expensive shakes or supplements. Some great post workouts or post sports game meals include:

    • Scrambled eggs with vegetables and a sweet potato
    • Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and rice
    • Salmon with sweet potato
    • Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
    • Tuna and crackers
    • Oatmeal, whey protein, banana and almonds
    • Cottage cheese and fruits
    • Pita and hummus
    • Whole grain toast and peanut butter
    • Cereal with milk
    • Greek yogurt, berries and granola
    • Protein shake and banana
    • Quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes, berries, and pecans

    As mentioned earlier you also want to replace the fluids that you lost through sweat. Ideally an electrolyte drink is a great option. Check out this refreshing home-made electrolyte drink.


    Proper nutrition is extremely important in optimizing results and performance, facilitating recovery, increasing muscle mass and reducing risk of injury. Whether it is optimizing your workouts at the gym, or your performance in sports– no matter what you do you need to eat and drink properly! This includes what you eat on a regular basis as well as leading up to the event and especially after the event. What, when and how much will be dependent on what you are doing and how often you are training. But you need make sure that you are fueling the body to help with recovery and repair of muscles and glycogen storages as risk of injury and ability to recovery quickly can easily be compromised if proper nutrition is overlooked.

    References —



    How Much Does a Nutritionist Cost?

    How Much Does a Nutritionist Cost?

    Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

    It can be tough to know if you are getting value for your money when seeking out a nutritionist to help you with your health goals. We wanted to help you understand if you are being overcharged or paying the appropriate amount for a quality service.

    What Nutrition Associations Report

    While conducting this research, we reached out to various nutrition associations. Below we’ve outlined what each organization indicated was the market rate for nutritionists in Ontario.

    The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN) was asked to provide their professional opinion as to market average rates for nutritionists in Ontario. They have campuses in Vancouver, Mississauga, Toronto and Ottawa. They indicated that, the base market average rate per hour rate for nutritionists working in clinical or private practice in Ontario, is $90.00. It is important to note, that the market average rate range per hour for a nutritionist working in clinical or private practice in Ontario with a specified knowledge base and experience can be up to $120.00 – $170.00.

    The International Organization of Nutrition Consultants (IONC) indicated the average hourly rate for a Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP) or Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP) in Ontario is between $75.00 – $125.00 per hour and correlates with experience and skillset.

    The Canadian Association of Natural Nutrition Practitioners (CANNP) reported the average range is $85.00 – $150.00 for a first visit which may be one hour or more. They also indicated that many clinicians package out their nutrition sessions over 4–12 sessions to help with client compliance and follow-through, and that the higher the number of sessions often the lower the hourly rate. Packages or programs can be an excellent option for clients to receive a greater value for their investment.

    The Edison Institute of Holistic Nutrition recommended the hourly rate of $90.00 – $120.00 an hour.

    Based on the above, the range for the hourly rate for a nutritionist is anywhere between $75 and $170 with the average being approximately between $110 – $122.50 an hour.

    Factors That Impact The Cost Of A Nutritionist

    There are a number of factors that affect the cost of nutrition services, including education level, the pricing structure and packages they offer, and their reputation. Geographic location is another factor, as often in larger more metropolitan cities rates are higher as compared to more rural areas. Of course, additional training or expertise in a specific health concern or area of focus will likely also impact the cost of services as well.

    Insurance Coverage For Nutritionists

    Nutritionist’s services are insurable in Ontario. More and more organizations, such as school boards and large banks, are recognizing the advantage of covering nutrition services in their extended health benefit programs That said, each individual employer can opt in or out of coverage for nutritionists, so please check your plan coverage for more details. It’s important to note, a dietitian is different from a nutritionist, so when checking your coverage make sure to clarify your options.

    Auto-insurance companies can also cover nutritionists’ services for individuals who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA). Koru Nutrition is set up on HCAI and can submit OCF-18s for nutrition services for individuals injured in an MVA.


    It’s important to take into account a nutritionist’s education, level of experience, market rates, and insurance coverage options when considering the value of the service they are offering. We hope the above helps you make an informed decision about your health care!

    If you would like to explore nutrition services with Koru Nutrition we would love to help you on your health journey book now with Koru Nutrition.


      How Much Does a Dietitian Cost?

      How Much Does a Dietitian Cost?

      Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

      Whether you are a client, referring practitioner, or an insurer it can be confusing to determine the appropriate cost to consult with a dietitian. So, to help you in your decision-making process, we compiled some research into the rates that Registered Dietitians (RDs) charge in Ontario.

      How Much Does A Dietitian Charge?

      The College of Dietitians of Ontario indicated that “RDs should ensure that their billing practices are accurate, transparent and reflective of the dietetic services provided. Charging a fee that is excessive for the dietetic service provided could be considered professional misconduct. While the College doesn’t have fixed charges or specified maximum fees for dietetic services, at some point a high fee can become excessive. Charging a very high fee becomes particularly concerning where a client is financially vulnerable or incapacitated”.

      The Consulting Dietitians Network of Dietitians of Canada provided an updated fee guidelines report for private dietitians in Ontario in 2019. In the province of Ontario, the average hourly rate for nutrition assessments was $125 an hour (range was between $60 and $199 an hour) with hourly rate follow-ups at an average $122 an hour (range of $60 to $199). For Toronto specifically these rates were higher with an average of $139 an hour for an assessment and $119 an hour for treatment. It is important to note that these were provided in 2019 and it is anticipated that these rates are likely higher now given inflation.

      We also interviewed 6 dietitians currently practising privately in Ontario including clinicians from Toronto, Ottawa, Owen Sound, and Thunder Bay. They all indicated the average private rate that they charge is $150 an hour, although they indicated that in their experience in their industry the private rate ranges from $120 to $180 an hour.

      Insurance or Benefits Coverage for Dietitian Services

      Dietitian’s services are insurable in Ontario. Many extended health benefits programs and other plans such as Blue Cross for Veterans Affairs will cover the cost of a dietitian. Each individual plan is different, so it is best to check-in with your insurance or benefit provider for more details.

      How Much Does A Dietitian Charge In The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Industry

      For individuals that have been involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) there are additional tasks, forms, travel time, report writing and communication amongst the rehabilitation team required. Thankfully, dietitian’s services can be covered by your auto insurance following an MVA.

      Registered Dietitians are not listed in Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s (FSCOs) professional fee guidelines, the government organization that oversees the auto insurance industry. The amounts payable by an insurer related to services not covered by the Guideline are to be determined by the parties involved.

      In short, relating to motor vehicle accidents there are no fee guidelines identified by FSCO for Registered Dietitians. As a result, most dietetics providers in this industry tend to follow guideline fees that are similar in disciplines and qualifications such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and registered nurses; which have similar education, salaries and private rates. Based on the FSCO guidelines for these disciplines Dietitians adhere to the $119.92/hour for cases involving catastrophic injuries (CAT files) and $99.75/hour for cases involving non-catastrophic injury (non-CAT files) These are the same rate for occupational therapists (OTs) and Physiotherapists (PTs).

      The National Occupational Classification (NOC) lists Registered Dietitians in Major Group 313, one group above Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists (Major Group 314), one group below Chiropractors (Major Group 312). Based on NOC’s classification of Registered Dietitians in relation to other Regulated Health Professionals, the $99.75/hr or $119.92/hr fees for a Registered Dietitian practicing in Ontario in the MVA industry are more than reasonable, if not a minimal, fee to charge.

      Further, in reviewing an Independent Evaluation report dated November 2020 for a motor vehicle accident client by Dynamic Functional Solutions, an Independent Medical Evaluations company, the Dietitian Elke Sengmueller, B.A.Sc., RD recommended that the hourly rate for dietitian services in the MVA industry should be $125 an hour.


      It’s important to take into account a Dietitian’s industry and insurance coverage options when determining the cost to consult a dietitian. Whether you are seeking a dietitian to address personal health concerns, are a professional hoping to refer a client for complimentary care, or are in the insurance industry seeking additional information about cost, we hope the above helps you make an informed decision!

      If it’s right for you, we welcome you to book now with Koru Nutrition or to make a referral.