The cost of groceries went up almost 30% last year. Everyone is looking for ways to save money, but not at the expense of health. Here are some quick tips to help:

1. Lentils are cheap, high in vitamins and very filling. Boil some red lentils, add some carrots and curry powder or the spice of your choice and blend it all together. A recipe like this only ends up costing $3-4 if you use the entire bag of lentils and an entire 3lb bag of carrots.

2. Boil potatoes ($2) and steam cauliflower ($2) — mash them together with some milk, garlic, salt and pepper. These taste like mashed potatoes but are so healthy!

3. Buy a whole, uncooked chicken ($8-10) and submerge it in a pot of water. Bring this water to a boil and let simmer with the chicken in it for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken is 165 degress F/71 degrees C in the center. Remove the chicken. You now have a gigantic bowl of chicken stock. Freeze some of this chicken stock and retain enough to make the following recipe; Prepare 2 cups of brown rice using the stock in place of water. Tear your chicken up, putting some away for use in another meal. After the rice has cooked, combine it with chicken, frozen peas and 1 cup of salsa. This is spanish rice..and it’s good!

3. Buying a whole chicken is ALWAYS cheaper than buying just chicken breasts… the dark meat is higher in fat, but if you eat it sparingly (which saves you money) you will be fine.

4. Buy seasonal produce. You want to get the produce in season because that’s what’s going to be cheapest. Look for long-lasting vegetables, like cabbage and carrots, so you have time to cook with them before they spoil.

5. Buy small amounts in bulk bins. You can often save on whole grains and rice by shopping by the pound, which allows you to purchase exactly what you need, even if that’s just 50-cents worth of an item.

6. Frozen vegetables are cheaper and last longer. Spinach costs about $1 if you buy it frozen. Add this to wraps, rice, scrambled eggs, stir frys, etc…it really stretches money because spinach is filling and nutritious.

7. Shop around for the best prices. You’re not necessarily going to get everything cheap at one store. And while it’s cost-effective to shop for meals that include what’s already in your pantry, be flexible and take advantage of the supermarket’s daily specials.

8. A stocked pantry will help prevent impulse purchases. Something that I keep in my pantry all the time is powdered milk (not for drinking) — the advantage of that is you can cook with it. How many times do you go to the store to get a quart of milk and come home $50 worth of groceries? … this saves you that last-minute trip to get milk.