Many marketers would like Canadians to think that they don’t have any time to prepare meals.
Just take a walk through the Meals to Go section of the supermarket or drive past the various restaurants, if you are in doubt.
But author/marketing guru Tracey Allen begs to differ.
“There is time to eat healthy and to make food from scratch and it can be cheaper,” says Allen, who sets out to prove her point in a new book, The Sustainable Table: Take Back Your Plate.
Based on 10 principles centred on food choices, healthy eating and food savings, the book is a starting point for people looking to simplify and save while being mindful of the environment.
“Life can be cluttered and by simplifying we can take back our plate from the world of processed foods and feel more in touch with our local food supply.
“The added benefit to all this is a more stress-free living style, healthy food and pride in knowing that we made it ourselves,” says the Charlottetown resident.
In the book there’s a whole section on taking back the supermarket, I Just Came for Milk. It gives tips on everything from how to save money to how to reduce the number of processed food you buy. Other chapters include Feed a Family for Less than $50, Super Slim Me, Food Free For All, Real Cost of Food, No Waste Strategy, Eating in Season and more.
Here’s some of her suggestions for “taking back your plate.”
• Plan an urban garden. With the right planters on your balcony, the seeds you sow can provide you with fresh vegetables all summer long.
“Growing sprouts is also an easy thing to do. You don’t need to have a garden or a yard. You can do it in a jar,” she says.
• Learn to fish and hunt. “There’s nothing like catching your own fish. Not only is it de-stressing, you get to make a meal for yourself for free,” she says.
• Find the food that nature provides for free.
“In the spring there are dandelion greens. Then after they flower, you can make dandelion wine, which is delicious. Then in the fall you dig up the roots, roast them and grind them and you’ve got an alternative to coffee,” says Allen.
Also included in the book are recipes for homemade soups, sauces and snacks that are 50 cents or less, per serving.
“If you make sauces up as you need it and in the amount that you want, then it’s perfect,” says Allen, whose book is the latest step in her decision to tread lightly on the planet.
“I’ve always been budget-conscious and mindful of these things. From an early age, I learned to grow a garden because Mum always had one. Over the years, I continued to build on that. I also love to write. Then, when I got to a stage in my life where my kids had grown up, I wanted to put this into a book,” she says.
The book, which is available at The Book Mark and online at Amazon.com and Kindle, is based on a lifetime of research.
“I started putting my ideas on paper three years ago and then I left it. So it’s morphed quite a bit … I’m happy that I’ve finally got it done.”