3 tupperwares filled with rice corn olives cucumbers tomatoes green onions and lentils

(Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels)

At this time of uncertainty across Canada, here are some tips for eating nutritious meals at low cost.

During this time, encourage children to get involved in planning and cooking of meals. It is a fun activity that passes the time and that can be a great learning opportunity!

  1. Plan your meals accordingly and only buy what you need. Work to plan your meals in advance, create a grocery list and only purchase what you need. This will limit mindless shopping at the grocery store. Check out the Dietitian’s of Canada Recipe E-book for easy, simple recipes.
  2. Aim for a balanced meal. Choose foods in accordance with Canada’s Food Guide. This means having all 3 food categories in every meal to ensure your meal is balanced and nutritious. Include fruits or vegetables, whole grains and a source of protein.
  3. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce is usually just as nutritious. It is cheaper, readily available and usually sold in large bags. It can be used when cooking, making smoothies or as yummy toppings for oatmeal and yogurt.
  4. Choose different types of proteins. Dry or canned beans, canned tuna or salmon, tofu, nuts and grains are often cheaper and all great options to get adequate protein intake.
  5. Be creative with what you already have at home. Scan your fridge and cupboards to see what you have. Use apps or websites like SuperCook or My Fridge Foods to generate recipes based on limited ingredients. You’d be surprised at what you can use to create fun combinations!


close-up of pumpkin muesli


Be inspired by the festivities of Halloween and try this pumpkin seed recipe that is as delicious as it is simple.


Pumpkin seeds are a great plant-based protein option that you can introduce to your students. Incorporate this recipe in your program by adding it to yogurt and fruit or simply serving it as is with milk.


Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 20
Serving size: ½ cup


  • 4½ c. (1.25 L) rolled oats
  • 1½ cup (375 mL) raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1½ cup (375 mL) shredded coconut
  • 1½ cup (375 mL) raw sunflower seeds
  • 9 tbsp (135 mL) hemp seeds (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) chia seeds (optional)
  • ¾ cup (185 mL) dried fruit (optional)
  • 1½ tsp (7.5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp (4 mL) pumpkin pie spice (optional)


For serving (optional)

  • Milk
  • Fruit (sliced bananas or berries)
  • Maple syrup
  • Yogurt



  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Arrange oats, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and spread into an even layer. If any of your seeds are already roasted, do not add them to the pan and reserve to add later.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly toasted and golden brown, stirring once at the halfway point.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Then add to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients: hemp seeds, chia seeds (optional), dried fruit (optional), cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice (optional). Toss to combine.

Serve muesli with milk or yogurt. Fresh fruit goes a long way with this muesli since there’s no added sweeteners otherwise.

To further soften the oats, heat milk before adding to muesli. Alternatively, cover with milk of choice and allow to soak for 30 minutes at room temperature or covered in the refrigerator overnight.

Smoothies are versatile, refreshing and nutritious drinks! Made with fruits and vegetables, they allow us to stock up on vitamins and minerals. But how to make your smoothies more filling? Here are a few tips!


Indeed, a smoothie that only contains fruits and vegetables will be very colorful, but may lack essential nutrients to sustain you longer. Adding one or more protein sources is a must for a filling smoothie.

Here are some examples of protein you can add to your favorite fruit and vegetable combo: milk or fortified soy beverage, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, seeds (pumpkin, flax, hemp, etc.), nut, seed or soy nut butter.


For inspiration, try one of these two recipes:

Blueberry Smoothie

Serves 2 – Scale up or down as needed

Preparation time: 5 minutes


  •     1.5 cups milk or soy milk
  •     1.5 cups frozen blueberries
  •     1 large extra ripe banana (riper bananas make sweeter smoothies. Bananas can also be frozen!)
  •     2 large handfuls of greens (spinach, baby kale, romaine – whatever!)
  •     1 tbsp chia seeds
  •     1 tbsp unsweetened nut or seed butter
  •     1 tsp cinnamon (optional)


Combine in a blender until smooth. Serve and enjoy!


Green Smoothie

Serves 2 – Scale up or down as needed

Preparation time: 15 minutes


  • 2 cups milk or soy milk
  • 5 cups frozen mangos
  • 1 large extra ripe banana
  • 2 large handfuls of greens (spinach kale- whatever!)
  • ½ cup of oats
  • ½ avocado
  • A few mint leaves


  1. In a blender, combine the oats and the milk. Let soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!


A classic cookie with a colourful, flavourful twist.

20 cookies

Preparation: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Baking: 12 minutes per sheet
Total: Approximately 2 hours



  • ¼ c. (100 g) salted butter*
  • ½ c. (100 g) white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ c. + 1 tbsp (110 g) bread flour
  • 2½ tbsp (15 g) matcha powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
  • ¾ c. (105 g) almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 2 tsp (8 g) baking powder

* If you use unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp (1 mL) of salt to the recipe in step 1.


There’s no need to preheat the oven right away. Your cookie dough will have to be refrigerated for an hour before baking.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Gradually beat in the egg yolks, one after the other.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, homogeneous dough.
  4. With a rolling pin, roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment paper to flatten (it should be about 0.5” or 1.5 cm thick when you’re done). Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  6. Cut out your shortbread with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process until the dough is used up.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.


  • 81 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 8 g carbohydrates (0 g fibre)
  • 1 g protein


If your cookies are crumbly and melt in your mouth, they’re a success. That is how shortbread should be. This recipe can also be used for pie crust or as a base for your favourite squares. The possibilities abound!


A tasty dessert perfect for fall, this loaf is loaded with fibre and sweetened with maple syrup.

1 loaf (10 slices)

Preparation: 10–15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Total: Approximately 1 hour



  • 2 grated apples*
  • ⅓ c. (75 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. (125 mL) neutral oil (canola, etc.)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 c. (500 mL) whole wheat flour
  • 1½ tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 mL) nutmeg
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) chopped walnuts**

*You can also garnish the top of the loaf with additional apple slices before baking.
**Optional if nut allergies are a concern.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC) and prepare a loaf pan.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients (apples, syrup, eggs, oil and vanilla) in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices) to the wet, mixing until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts over the batter.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.


Nutrition information for one serving.

  • 234 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 22 g carbohydrate (4 g fibre)
  • 5 g protein


For a fancier twist, whip up a little maple glaze: Mix 1 c. icing sugar with 1 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tsp milk of choice. Drizzle over the top of the cooled loaf.