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Tips for helping Veterans During the Holidays

December 20th 2023
The holiday season is a time of joy, family gatherings, and delicious meals. For veterans, navigating the festive season on a budget can be challenging. Still, it's essential to prioritize nutrition for overall well-being. This blog will explore practical and budget-friendly nutrition tips to help veterans and their families enjoy a healthy and hearty holiday season without breaking the bank.

Pre-Plan for Festive Meals

One of the key strategies for budget-friendly holiday nutrition is planning. Start by creating a meal plan with budget-friendly recipes and a shopping list of necessary ingredients. Doing so helps shoppers stick to their budget and reduces the likelihood of impulse purchases.

Tip: Look for discounts on holiday-specific ingredients, and if able to, purchase non-perishable items in bulk to save money in the long run.

Embrace Simple and Nutrient-Rich Recipes

Opt for simple recipes that use affordable yet nutritious ingredients. Consider dishes incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Roasted vegetables, hearty soups, and one-pot meals are excellent choices that offer both flavour and nutrition. The nutrient difference between frozen and fresh veggies is negligible, so walk down the frozen food aisle to save money.

Recipe Idea: Try a budget-friendly vegetable stir-fry using a mix of colourful vegetables and affordable protein sources like beans or eggs.

Visit Us

We are here for you during the holidays. Veterans and their families can benefit from our resources, including our food bank, which supports dietary requirements such as gluten-free or diabetic needs. Encourage veterans and first responders who need support to contact us and learn about our available food assistance programs.

DIY Gifts from the Kitchen

The holidays often involve gift-giving. Consider gifting homemade treats for a thoughtful and cost-effective gift. Easy-to-make, nutritious gifts that you can prepare include homemade granola, trail mix, or infused olive oil. These gifts not only show care in the time spent making them but also promote health-conscious choices.

Make the Most of Leftovers

Leftovers are a valuable asset during the holidays, providing an opportunity to create new meals without additional costs. Get creative with leftover turkey, ham, or vegetables. Turkey sandwiches, soups, and casseroles are excellent options that stretch the holiday feast. Boiling the broth from a turkey or ham bone can make the base for soup that, when frozen, can extend over some time.

Tip: Put the turkey carcass, drippings, and some meat in a crock pot, cover completely with water, and add whatever seasonings you'd like. Set the crock pot on low and let the aroma fill your house!

Shop Smart for Discounts and Deals

Taking advantage of discounts and deals is a smart way to stretch the holiday budget. Look for sales, use coupons, and consider generic or store-brand products to save money without compromising nutritional value.

Budget-Savvy Shopping: Download the apps Flipp and Flashfood. Flipp combines all local flyers to help you plan your shopping trips. At the same time, the FlashFood app connects users with discounted but high-quality groceries.

Focus on Nutrient-Dense Staples

When working with a limited budget, focusing on nutrient-dense staples that provide maximum nutritional value is essential. Incorporating food items such as whole grains, legumes, frozen vegetables, and affordable protein sources such as eggs or canned beans encourages healthy eating while on a budget.

Nutrient-Dense Options: Brown rice, cans of chicken or tuna, oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, and frozen fruit/veggies are cost-effective.

Mindful Eating During Celebrations

Savour each bite, eat slowly and pay attention to hunger cues. Mindful eating promotes healthier choices and allows you to enjoy the festive season without overindulging.

Mindful Eating Tips: Put down utensils between bites, focus on the flavours, and listen to your body's cues for hunger and fullness. It's easy to overeat during the holidays, with food a part of many celebrations. However, if that happens, remember it happens to everyone. Don't let guilt fool you into a vicious cycle!
This holiday season, pre-plan, embrace simplicity, and use available resources to make the holidays joyful and healthy. Nourishing the spirit begins with nourishing the body. With these practical tips, you can create memorable, healthy, and budget-friendly holiday celebrations.

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