This is related to the previous entry of process foods, but in a broader sense of making sure you’re eating good food. I’ve read things about raw or fresh vegetables containing more nutrients, or eating organic produce is heaps better than regular produce. I’m not expert on any of that, and I won’t pretend to be. All I can say is that since I switched to using fresh produce for snacking and cooking, I’ve noticed a huge difference, both in my nutrition and the taste of what I cook.
I still used canned and frozen vegetables and fruit, and it’s easy to understand why. Not everything is available year round, and canned/frozen produce is eminently storable and ready when you want it.
But I opt for fresh whenever possible, and will change my meal plans on the fly based on what fresh produce I come across. Speaking of my meals, I can notice the sometimes drastic difference between using nice, fresh Ontario tomatoes and canned ones. Using fresh spices and herbs instead of packaged varieties adds a flavourful boost to any meal, but interestingly enough, also changes the way the cook has to use them. I only have to use a fraction of what I would normally use to achieve the result I want, especially when it comes to garlic and thyme.
Also, if you have the opportunity and the free time, plant a garden. My parents had one when I was growing up, and still do. So does my sister. Not only does it help with your food bill, but it gives you probably the purest produce (relatively speaking) that you can get. I loved tomatoes out of our garden, picked only a few hours before eating them. Even the lazy gardener can do well, getting a few bits of produce that the birds didn’t eat and the neglect didn’t kill. I know a few people who just turn the earth, plant a few seeds, and let Mother Nature take its course.
Obviously, in Toronto space is a concern. I live in a condo, but I would love to be able to plant a garden. I’ve seen gardening plots around the city. Does anyone use one of these or know how to obtain a lease for one? Other than putting my name on a waiting list, that is.